COLUMBUS GROVE – If ever a game was destined to go to over-time, it was the Friday night match-up between Spencerville and Columbus Grove.
The two Northwest Conference foes battled back and forth for 32 minutes before a four minute over-time session was needed and the visiting Bearcats grabbed a 56-53 win.
Spencerville came out firing from behind the 3-point line while the Bulldogs were looking to get the ball inside to Will Vorhees, their 6-foot-7 post player.
The Bearcats were lights out as they hit 7-of-14 from behind the arc in the first half but only took a one point (30-29) lead to the half. Ben Bowers led the way with 14 points that included four treys.
Columbus Grove stayed close thanks to 13 first-half points from Jace Darbyshire and 10 points from Vorhees.
“Vorhees is such a tough match-up for us,” Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh said. “We wanted to spread the floor and make him work hard defensively.”
Spencerville (11-3, 5-0 NWC) appeared to grab control of the contest when the Bearcats sprinted to a 38-31 lead early in the third period, but the Bulldogs bounced right back thanks to a 8-0 run that was high-lighted by back-to-back threes by Riley Brubaker that gave the Bulldogs a 39-38 lead.
The Bearcats took a 43-40 lead to the fourth quarter thanks to a 3-pointer by Bowers late in the quarter.
The two teams went at each other in the final quarter with neither able to grab control. They settled for a 49-49 tie and headed to overtime.
Grove (7-6, 2-2 NWC) missed a chance when they misfired on a lay-up attempt off the overtime tip. Spencerville scored first on a bucket by Dakota Prichard but Grove tied it at 51 each on a basket by Vorhees.
“We started the overtime by missing shots after ending regulation making two unforced turnovers and you can’t do that against good teams,” Columbus Grove coach Ryan Stechschulte said. “You need to make big plays down the stretch to beat these good teams; we’re battlers but we need a big win to get over the hump.”
An old fashioned three-point play by Zach Goecke gave the Bearcats a 54-51 lead before Vorhees scored again for the Bulldogs to cut the lead to 54-53 with one minute and 10 seconds to play.
Neither team would score again until Goecke made both ends of a one and one with 4.2 seconds left to play that gave Spencerville the 56-53 victory.
“The story of this game was our defense held Darbyshire to two second half points and Vorhees to eight,” Sensabaugh said. “I’m proud of the way we played; it’s a big league win on the road but we have to keep getting better.”
Columbus Grove was led in scoring by 18 points from Vorhees, 15 by Darbyshire, and 11 from Brubaker.
Spencerville was led by Bowers who totaled 18 points, while Goecke finished with 15 and Prichard ended with 10.
The victory by Spencerville set up a huge game next Friday when the Bearcats will take on the undefeated, and number-one ranked Division IV team in the state, Crestview Knights.