SPENCERVILLE — Elida’s Dakota Mathias was everywhere.
He drilled shots flying in the air, at the basket and from the 3-point line.
But not only did Mathias score 41 points, he grabbed the final rebound when Spencerville’s Ben Bowers missed a runner at the rim with one second left.
That gave Elida a 62-61 nonleague victory over Spencerville in a boys basketball game Friday at Spencerville.
Mathias, who scored 42 and 41 points in his first two games, is now averaging 41.3 points-per-game over his first three games.
“I’m pretty sure that hasn’t happened (Elida),” Elida coach Denny Thompson said.
Mathias hit 16 of 22 from the field with four 3-pointers. The 6-foot-4 guard also had 11 rebounds. Aric Thompson added 13 points for Elida, as Mathias and Thompson combined for 54 of the Bulldogs’ 62 points.
“I think we’re going to continue to get everybody’s best shot,” Thompson said. “I told them after the game, ‘Get used to it.’ … We have to work at getting better and we have to work at getting other people involved, offensively. I think we did that tonight, but they have to make shots now, too.”
Elida is 2-1, while Spencerville is 0-3.
“Our kids played really hard and we battled back,” Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh said. “We had a chance to win it at the buzzer and we had a great look.”
Spencerville was led by 6-2 Derek Goecke, who had 19 points and six rebounds. Freshman Zach Goecke and Bowers both had 13 points. Devon Cook scored 10.
Elida led 50-37 with 5:22 to go. The Bulldogs still led 60-52 with just under two minutes to play.
That’s when coach Thompson was called for a technical after no foul was called when Mathias was bumped and had the ball stolen from him near midcourt. The Bearcats went to the other end and Derek Goecke was fouled on a shot.
Goecke sank both foul shots and Cook hit two shots on the technical.
Derek Goecke then sank a putback to bring Spencerville within 60-58 with 1:20 to go. Cook’s long-range 3-pointer gave the Bearcats the lead 61-60 with 1:01 to go.
Mathias canned a driving 8-footer to give Elida the lead to stay 62-61 with 42 seconds left.
After Mathias missed a front end of a one-and-one, Spencerville rebounded and played for one last shot. After the ball was tipped out of bounds, the Bearcats inbounded with 4.2 seconds to go.
Bowers took the ball down the heart of the lane and his scoop shot circled the rim, fell out and Mathias grabbed it with both hands as the buzzer sounded.
“It was a relief,” Mathias said. “I grabbed that rebound and I knew it was over.”
Mathias scored 15 in the first half, as the Bulldogs led 27-22. Mathias then added 15 in the second half, hitting 6 of 6 from the field.
Spencerville played straight up man-to-man almost the whole game. But no matter who guarded Mathias, he scored on 12-foot runners off the glass, deep threes and pull-up jumpers from everywhere.
“It comes from a lot of offseason work and working on all aspects of my game,” Mathias said. “It’s a lot of confidence built up from last year to this year.”
Spencerville won the boards, 23-21. Spencerville hit 52 percent from the field and 6 of 16 on 3-pointers. Elida shot 58 percent and 5 of 15 on threes.
Elida played without regulars Louis Gray (broken right hand) and Ebin Stratton, who served the first of a two-game suspension.
In the final four minutes, the Bearcats sent a second player at Mathias. That helped Thompson knock down a 3-pointer in the corner to give Elida a 60-50 lead.
“He’s (Mathias) a great player and some of the shots he made were very difficult shots and were contested with guys in his face,” Sensabaugh said.