One year after West Limestone made a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback to defeat Deshler in the Class 4A sub-regional round, the Wildcats did it again.
This year's comeback wasn't quite as big, but the game was just as dramatic, as the Wildcats outlasted the Tigers 53-52 in triple overtime to book their place in the Northwest Regional tournament.
“They kept going up and we kept coming from behind until we got one more stop and took a lead,” West Limestone coach Justin Taylor said. “It's nothing special what we're doing on offense or defense, just the five kids on the floor making plays.”
One year after entering the fourth quarter down 19 points at Deshler in the sub-regional game, West was down six points going into the final period. The Wildcats had their best offensive quarter of the game, outscoring Deshler 13-7 to tie the game at 39 and send it to overtime.
The overtime periods were a slow-paced, grinding affair, with neither team able to separate from the other. The first overtime ended tied at 43, and the second overtime ended with the score tied at 48.
About the only person scoring any points for the Wildcats in the overtime periods was Branson Owens. The senior scored eight of his 16 points in overtime, accounting for all but six of West's overtime points.
“It was another unbelievable effort by Branson Owens, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime,” Taylor said. “He was phenomenal.”
Owens scored what turned out to be the winning basket, as his layup with 15 seconds left in the third overtime put West up 53-51. Deshler had a chance to tie the game and send it to a fourth overtime after being fouled with 1.5 seconds left.
The Tigers made the first free throw, but missed the second. West Limestone secured the rebound, and the clock ran out on the Wildcats' victory.
Owens and River Helms led West Limestone with 16 points each, while Camryn Williams finished with 13 points, including a big 3-pointer in the second overtime that tied the score after Deshler had taken a three-point lead.
Deshler was led by Rece Malone and Sawyer Wright, who each scored 15 points.
West Limestone will play Haleyville 10:30 a.m. Monday in the regional tournament semifinal at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville.