After trailing Lower Richland through most of four quarters, the Keenan Raiders picked up in the final minutes of regulation, then slammed their way to 54-50 overtime victory at home Friday.
"We don't quite have the level of leadership we need from more experienced players yet, so we knew it was going to be an up and down game," Raiders coach Zach Norris said.
Less than two minutes into the final period, Kenny Reed popped a three-pointer that cut the Raiders' deficit in half, and Buck Johnson's layup off an assist from senior guard Eric Washington put the Raiders within one point for the fifth time in the game.
But Torrence Outing's two free throws put the Diamond Hornets back up by three. Then the Raiders put up four points in a 20 second stretch go up, for the first time in the contest, 44-43.
At 3:39, a steal by Outing and fastbreak lay-up from Marcus Taylor put the Raiders down by one again. At 1:49, Washington spun to the basket to give Keenan a three-point lead, but on the other end of the court, Outing made a free throw and layup to knot the score at 48 and send the game to overtime.
"I was tired going into overtime, but they run off my energy and if I don't come with it they're not going to, so I knew I had to run," said Washington, who scored 16 points for the Raiders, two in overtime. Johnson led all-scorers with 19.
Lower Richland coach Ezekiel Washington was disappointed that the Diamond Hornets were unable to hold off the Keenan rally after playing strong from the beginning.
Malcolm Rhett and Keith Johnson formed a damaging inside-outside connection early on, and the Diamond Hornets had lurched ahead in the first four minutes with a 10-0 scoring run.
The Raiders seemed to have a comeback when they knotted the score at 16 early in the second. Though they quickly fell behind again, the Lower Richland coach never counted the Raiders out.
"A team like that, they aren't going to lay down; you've got to beat them and we just didn't get it done tonight," Washington said. "They just made two more plays than we did."
Leaders: LR Rhett 4, Taylor 9, Outing 7, Keith Johnson 22, White 2, Burgess 2, McFadden 4. K Eric Washington 16, Quinton Johnson 19, Reed 9, Rowe 7,