The South Greene Rebels hung on in an overtime thriller to knock off Johnson County 62-61 in the District 1-2A semifinals.
“It’s tournament time and it’s ugly. It’s about moving on and that’s what I tried to preach to them,” Rebels Head Coach Terry Hoese said. “I knew it was going to be a battle. They’re good and he does a good job with them.“
It was a nail-biter throughout all thirty-six minutes of action with neither team able to pull away in regulation. The Longhorns were hot from outside the arc with ten three-point field goals, but persistent play in the paint from the Rebels was what proved to be the difference maker.
Jase Roderick didn’t crack under the pressure of big-time moments with two clutch layups down the stretch. Roderick scored the game-deciding bucket in overtime and gave South Greene the lead in regulation with an and-one play with a minute left.
The Rebels will now move into the championship game on Tuesday night where they’ll meet county rival Chuckey-Doak.
Almost three minutes of action had went by before either team found the bottom of the nets. Dillon Robinson drained a three-point basket before Roderick pulled up for a mid-range inside the paint. The sophomore handed South Greene their first lead of the night with a long two-point jumper.
Eli Pickens and Dillon Robinson sent the Longhorns back in front with back-to-back triples towards the end of the first.
Johnson County held a 12-9 lead at the end of one.
Woody Hixson missed a buzzer beater at the end of the first, but didn’t let that mess with his confidence on the way to a finger roll layup to start the second frame.
The Longhorns fed the big man in the post and Connor Simcox got his first bucket to fall.
Cooper Kelley dropped a three-point bomb through the net, but Dillon Robinson came back with his third of the contest.
Graham Reece stood out along the perimeter and bucketed two-straight three pointers on as many attempts. Eli Pickens drained another trey as they extended their lead to 27-20.
TJ Buckner and Jase Roderick worked together to carry the load for the Rebels in the second. TJ Buckner grabbed three offensive boards in the quarter and accumulated six points. Roderick added two baskets for four points.
South Greene trailed 31-24 heading into the break.
Cooper Kelley managed to hit a three-point shot on the final play of the half, but the shot was called off as the officials said the ball wasn’t out of his hand before time expired. He got that shot back on the first play of the new half with a three-point bomb to set the tempo.
Hayden Birdwell went to work in the paint and tied the score then took the lead for the Rebels with back-to-back layups.
Johnson County woke up and went on a 7-0 run to regain the lead. Dillon Robinson and Peyton Pavusek laid the ball up for a layup each and Graham Reece splashed another three to push them ahead 38-33.
It was a quarter of runs for both teams. The Rebels stormed back with a 7-0 run of their own to snatch the lead back. Andrew Thornburg started chipping away with a layup in the post. Jase Roderick drained a triple to put them back ahead 40-38.
One last run from the Longhorns put them back on top going into the fourth. Dillon Robinson went one-for-two from the foul line and stole a pass on defense immediately after to grant himself with an easy trip to the basket for a layup. Connor Simcox laid the ball up once more in the paint to put Johnson County ahead 43-40 going into the final period of play.
The Rebels came storming back to take control early in the fourth. Hayden Birdwell came out strong with four huge points to help propel them back into the lead. A layup to start the quarter was followed by a layup from TJ Buckner who was fouled and went to the line with a chance at a three-point play. The foul shot bounced off the iron, but landed right in Birdwell’s hands for an easy put back to help them take a 46-43 lead.
Cooper Kelley’s defense led to another two points with a steal under the basket. He’d relay a pass to Hunter Toth for an easy layup.
From there on out, things got a lot more interesting. Skylar Lawson’s and-one bucket and Eli Pickens’ three-pointer put Johnson County right back into the ballgame.
The score sat tied at 51-51 with 3:01 left.
They momentarily took a one-point lead on a free throw from Dillon Robinson, but Cooper Kelley sprinted to the rim for a layup to wipe that away.
The Longhorns caught a break on offense after Simcox missed a shot under the basket. He’d grab his own miss and throw the ball off of Hayden Birdwell while falling out of bounds in a call that was questioned by South Greene’s bench. Eli Pickens laid the ball off the glass following the call to thrust them into the lead.
When Coach Hoese needed his team to score a bucket, Jase Roderick was there to provide. Roderick drove through the lane and was fouled on a made layup with one minute to go. The free throw dropped through the net to give South Greene a two-point advantage.
When the Longhorns needed a bucket also, Connor Simcox was their go-to guy. He tied the game with 39 seconds left after a bank shot in the paint.
South Greene had one more attempt to put the game away in regulation, but two layups under the basket wouldn’t fall through and the game would have to be settled in overtime with both teams tied at 56-56.
Once the four-minute overtime started, Hunter Toth wasted no time putting his team out front with the early lead and was a huge factor in the Rebels’ win. The senior guard was responsible for four quick points. Toth poked the ball away on defense that led to a layup for Cooper Kelley. He stepped to the line on their next possession and knocked down two clutch free throws.
“He’s a senior and he’s supposed to be doing that stuff,” “That was a huge steal right there. They got the tip and if they go down and score first who knows. For the most part, whoever scores first in overtime normally wins the basketball game,” Hoese mentioned “It was a big deal for us to get that steal and I’m proud of him and happy for him.”
The Longhorns didn’t go down without a fight and got a layup to fall from Connor Simcox. Eli Pickens drained another three-pointer to lift them back ahead 61-60 in the closing minute.
Jase Roderick played the role of the hero at the end of regulation and put his cape on once again in overtime with a put back layup that proved to be the game-deciding bucket.
The Longhorns still had a chance to win the game with the ball in their hands and twenty seconds left on the clock. Coach Austin Atwood burned two timeouts to set his offense up along his sideline.
Jase Roderick stood his ground and forced Johnson County into a tough shot at the rim that didn’t go in. The sophomore was fouled after grabbing the rebound and had a chance to put the game away with free throws.
He’d miss the front end of a one-and-one but the Longhorns couldn’t control the ball well enough to get a quality shot off at the buzzer as the Rebels would hang on to survive in overtime.
“They had a good game plan and they played well. I thought overall it was a pretty well-played game by both teams. Just blessed to come out on top,” Hoese stated.
Jase Roderick led all scorers with 21 points and two huge buckets down the stretch to lead South Greene to a win. TJ Buckner provided 13 points and 11 rebounds. Cooper Kelley added 12 points.
Dillon Robinson led Johnson County with 17 points and Eli Dickens contributed with 14.
South Greene will face off against Chuckey-Doak in the District 1-2A championship game on Tuesday night at 7:30. Johnson County falls into the third-place consolation game where they’ll meet West Greene at 6:00.