By Brad Morris
ASHVILLE — With a Division I Central District sectional semifinal deadlocked in overtime on Tuesday, the Mid-State League Buckeye Division co-champion Teays Valley Vikings decided to showcase a little MSL basketball for the visiting Hilliard Darby Panthers.
“Once we got the ball with a little over one minute left in overtime, I knew what we wanted to do,” Teays Valley coach Brian Barnett said. “We were going to run the clock down and then run a staple play in our league.”
Ryan Allton fed Kole Nungester on a backdoor cut that the freshman guard turned into an eight-foot runner with two seconds remaining, providing the difference for the Vikings in a 49-47 win.
“I knew Coach Barnett would have a good play for us coming out of the timeout (with 14 seconds remaining),” Nungester said. “I acted like I was going toward the three-point line to take the pass, the defender overplayed it and Ryan gave me a great pass. After that, all I had to do was hit the shot. The closest defender to me was on the block, so I got a great look at the basket.”
The Vikings (18-5) overcame a 13-point deficit to open the fourth quarter, forced overtime and then scored the only points of the bonus period on Nungester’s runner.
“We’ve had a pretty good season, winning a share of the league and a lot of games, but we also had some tougher games this season and I think those moments prepared us for the comeback we made in the fourth quarter,” Nungester said. “We pulled together as a team, trusted each other and when we do that we can get on a roll, like we did during the fourth quarter.”
Hilliard Darby missed a three-pointer as time expired in overtime, with the Teays Valley student section rushing the floor to celebrate with their classmates.
Allton paced the Vikings with nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and also came away with three steals. Sam Miller followed with 12 points and nine rebounds, before fouling out with 6:12 remaining in regulation and Nungester contributed 11 points and six rebounds.
Hilliard Darby (7-16) put together a 25-4 run over an 11-minute stretch of the second and third quarters to turn a 23-15 deficit into a 40-27 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Panthers held the Vikings to just 2 of 12 (16.7 percent) shooting during the stretch and forced seven turnovers with a 2-1-2 zone pressure.
“Darby was overly aggressive, trapping and getting us to speed up and rush shots when we did not turn the basketball over,” Barnett said. “We turned the tables on Darby in the fourth quarter.”
The Vikings held the Panthers to 2 of 5 (40 percent) shooting and forced eight turnovers to finish regulation on a 20-7 run.
Allton opened the fourth quarter by draining a pair of free throws.
Following a three-pointer in the left corner by Nungester and a jumper by Brayden Primmer, Allton scored on a drive to the basket, knifed through the lane for an old-fashioned three-point play and then hit two more free throws to cut the Darby lead to 45-41.
“We knew that we had to pick it up starting on the defensive end by either getting stops or turnovers and then get into our offense and work for good shots,” Allton said. “Everyone picked it up and once we got going, we started playing with more confidence and got momentum going our way.”
Barnett credited Allton, who scored nine of the Vikings 20 points in the fourth quarter, for sparking the team.
“Ryan is our energy guy on the floor and when he is playing well, our other guys feed off of that and things just go better for us overall as a team,” he said. “Ryan played like a senior who wanted his career to continue, starting on the defensive end with getting some steals and deflections to get us going.
“If we were going to rally from a 13-point deficit, we needed extra possessions to be able to do that and Ryan helped create some of those extra possessions.”
Brody Fields drilled a 19-foot jumper and Nungester stole the ensuing inbounds pass and laid it in for two more, tying the game at 45-45 with 1:45 remaining.
Cam Gilkerson put the Panthers back ahead with two free throws, but Nungester drilled a jumper on the ensuing Viking possession to tie the score again and ultimately force overtime.
“It took everyone to pull off that type of comeback,” Allton said. “With our five starters, everyone has stepped up at different points this season to lead us and in that fourth quarter, everyone stepped up to get the job done.”
Brady Taylor scored 17 points and Cam Gilkerson added 12 for the Panthers.
The Vikings are slated to travel to Bishop Watterson on Saturday for a sectional final against the No. 13 seeded St. Charles Cardinals (11-11).
“This is a big win for us, to come-from-behind like we did and pull it out,” Allton said. “This was exciting and hopefully we can carry over this energy into (Saturday) night and play well as a team.”
Division I Central District
No. 22 Teays Valley 49,
No. 30 Hilliard Darby 47 OT
HILLIARD DARBY — Kaleb Dotson 4-0-8, Cooper Gilkerson 1-0-3, Javi Quimba 2-1-5, Brady Taylor 6-2-17, Ben Krumpe 1-0-2, Cam Gilkerson 2-7-12. Three-point goals — Taylor (3), Cam Gilkerson and Cooper Gilkerson. Total — 16 10-15 47.
TEAYS VALLEY — Kole Nungester 5-0-11, Brody Fields 3-2-8, Ryan Allton 3-9-16, Brayden Primmer 1-0-2, Sam Miller 5-1-12. Three-point goals — Nungester, Allton and Miller. Total — 17 12-13 49.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 OT F
Hilliard Darby 13 9 18 7 0 47
Teays Valley 12 11 4 20 2 49