Elida may not be celebrating a Mercy/Health Tip-Off Classic championship but the Bulldogs are just as happy after coming away with a thrilling comeback, 66-65, overtime win over Shawnee on Saturday.
Elida, which at one point was down by 13 points in the third quarter, rallied to tie the game and then edge Shawnee in overtime to improve to 2-0. The Bulldogs garnered a win over Bath in the altered tournament format this year.
Due to Lima Central Catholic sill in the football playoffs the annual tip-off tournament had Elida and Bath playing on Friday which the Bulldogs won, and the coming back and facing Shawnee that saw Elida’s bid for a second straight win come up short.
“Our kids have grit,” Elida head coach Matt Tabler said. “It has been a rough couple of years here and I have a bunch of kids that are balled in. They scrap. They fight. They practice so hard. We talked about this weekend and last year. We weren’t shy about being 3-20 and our kids turned a corner.”
Tabler added that the team also got some sage advice from former Bulldog head coach Chris Adams who told the team prior to the game that this the season is a marathon and not a sprint.
“This is just one weekend but I think we showed a lot of grit tonight.”
In overtime, Elida’s Brice Engle sank two free throws with 6.7 seconds left to give Elida the lead 66-65. Shawnee had one final shot at winning the game but Austin Miller’s layup came up short.
Elida placed three players in double digits with Seth Sharp leading the way with 15 points, followed by Tori Thomas with 11 points and Zori Island with 10 point. Five of Island’s points came in overtime.
Shawnee’s Austin Miller finished with 15 points and six rebounds and Will McBride added 13 points and eight rebounds.
After both teams played an inconsistent first half ,the Indians hold a 33-24 advantage going into the final 16 minutes. It appeared Shawnee had put things together at the onset of the third quarter when they went on a quick 5-0 run to open up its biggest lead of the game 38-25, with 6:03 left in the third quarter.
But Shawnee’s offensive inconsistency and Elida’s began to emerge and slowly the Bulldogs began to chip away at the double digit lead and by the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs had narrowed the gap to 43-37,
With momentum on their side, the Bulldogs continued to close in on the lead and led by the shooting of Seth Sharp and big three-pointers from David Etzhorn and Camden Howard, along with a big rebound and bucket from Thomas sliced the lead down to 58-56 with less than five seconds and then Howard connected on two clutch free throws with 1.7 seconds left on the clock.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.