Tigers fall to 8-6 after overtime loss
By Paul Lecker
PITTSVILLE — The Stratford boys basketball team did all it could to contain Pittsville big man Matthew Carlson, but in the final seconds, he could not be stopped.
Carlson scored off an inbounds pass with less than 3 seconds left in overtime to lift Pittsville to a 44-43 win over Stratford in a Marawood Conference South Division game Thursday night at Pittsville High School.
Pittsville moves to 12-5 overall and 6-4 in the Marawood South, and Stratford drops to 8-6 and 2-4 in the conference.
The 6-foot-7 Carlson was held to 4-for-11 shooting through the regulation and the first 3:55 of overtime as the Tigers double- or even triple-teamed him every time he touched the ball.
The strategy worked as Stratford led for much of the game and never trailed by more than three, but on the final play, Carlson was able to get free to sink the game winner.
Stratford took a 41-40 lead on a driving lay-in from Brenden Fecker with 39 second left. Carlson made a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds to go to give the lead back to the Panthers.
Fecker missed on another drive, and the ball was knocked out of bounds by Pittsville with 8.9 seconds left. The Tigers got the ball into Vaughn Breit, who had a team-high 13 points, and he scored with 7 seconds left.
Pittsville called a time out and after advancing the ball to half court called another with 4.2 seconds left. Carlson was able to slip behind the Stratford defense, took a lob pass off the inbound, and scored with 2.7 seconds to go.
Without a timeout, Stratford inbounded to Okley Wrensch, who heaved a ¾-court shot that was straight on but grazed off the front of the rim.
Stratford coach Curt Schmidt said he was happy with how hard the Tigers played, but missed free throws — they were just 10 of 18 — proved costly.
“One of our guys left Carlson and got sucked into a screen, and they just threw it over the top,” Schmidt said. “We knew they were going to go to him. They had everyone low and ran everyone up, and our guys jumped things.
“If we had made out free throws, it wouldn’t have been this close. We didn’t want to settle for 3s. We had some 3 looks, just didn’t make many. We fought hard, and I’m proud of the guys’ effort.”
Stratford was patient against Pittsville’s 2-3 zone, sometimes wearing off nearly a minute or more to try to find a good shot.
Made shots were hard to come by for both teams as Stratford pulled out to a 22-16 lead at halftime.
Pittsville rallied to tie it at 26-26 after Trevor Gardner made three-straight shots. Then Stratford regained the lead 30-26 on a pair of free throws from Fecker and a basket by Paul Huther at the 7:02 mark.
Stratford did not score for more than six minutes, and Pittsville went up 35-32 on a rebound and basket from Donovan Grossman and two free throws by Bailey Herkert.
Fecker hit his only 3-pointer of the game with 10 seconds left to tie it, and Pittsville missed a last-second heave to send the game into overtime.
The lead changed hands three times before Carlson’s game-winner. He finished with a game-high 14 points.
“I have a very young team,” Schmidt said. “I’m excited, proud of these kids and enjoy coaching them. Sometimes you just aren’t on. It wasn’t quite clicking tonight, and sometimes that happens.”
Stratford plays at Northland Lutheran on Thursday.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Panthers 44, Tigers 43 (OT)
Stratford 22 13 8 – 43
Pittsville 16 19 9 – 44
STRATFORD (43): Brenden Fecker 3-11 2-2 9, Cole Hoffmann 1-10 0-2 3, Okley Wrensch 0-1 0-0 0, Paul Huther 2-6 4-7 8, Trent Hecker 1-4 0-0 3, Vaughn Breit 5-13 3-4 13, Lance Heidmann 0-0 1-2 1, Jacob Danen 3-5 0-1 6. FG: 15-50. FT: 10-18. 3-pointers: 3-14 (Heckel 1-3, Fecker 1-5, Hoffmann 1-5, Wrensch 0-1). Rebounds: 29 (Breit 7). Turnovers: 9. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: none. Record: 8-6, 2-4 Marawood Conference South Division.
PITTSVILLE (44): Brett Peterson 0-0 0-0 0, Donovan Grossman 3-6 2-4 8, Bailey Herkert 1-3 2-2 5, Aidan Masanz 2-6 0-0 4, Matthew Carlson 5-12 4-4 14, Luke Denniston 2-5 0-1 5, Trevor Gardner 4-6 0-0 8. FG: 17-38. FT: 8-11. 3-pointers: 2-6 (Herkert 1-2, Denniston 1-2, Masanz 0-2). Rebounds: 29 (Masanz 8, Grossman 8). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: none. Record: 12-5, 6-4 Marawood Conference South Division.