As soon as Brett Krisik let go of his game-tying, 3-point attempt in the final seconds of regulation on Friday, he knew it was going in.
The 6-foot-6 senior post player from Ozark didn’t hesitate when he caught the pass at the top of the key with less than 20 seconds left, and his 3 sent the game into overtime, where Ozark won 72-70 in a Central Ozark Conference battle.
“As soon as it left my fingers I thought it was good,” Krisik said. “That felt great. To come all the way back from being down 11 points and hit the tying shot is a once-in-a-lifetime thing I guess.”
Krisik, who has developed into a 3-point threat during his senior season, was confident when he took the attempt.
“I’ve been shooting pretty good from 3 and when I looked at my percentage recently, I was around 55 percent, so I told myself that I can actually hit 3s,” Krisik said. “When it came down to it, I was open and I was in the zone and I shot it and made it.
“I knew if I would have missed it, my teammates could have rebounded it and we could have regrouped and got another shot.”
Ozark scored off the overtime tip when senior Jakob Neidig scored on a layup in the first five seconds.
Senior Tyler Clanton’s bucket from the left block with 3:03 left in overtime gave Ozark a 65-63 lead. Neidig then stretched the lead to five points with less than a minute remaining by making 3 of 4 free throws.
Ozark still led 72-67 when junior Chris Kendrix made a 3 with less than three seconds left for the final score.
“They jumped out on us early and we had to make some adjustments and that really got us going,” Willard coach Lamont Frazier said. “We thought we had to pressure their guards more and not let them have free reign.
“We gave ourselves a chance, we just didn’t finish when we had the opportunity.”
Both Ozark and Krisik were on fire from the opening tip, opening up a 14-3 lead. Ozark led 19-8 at the end of the first eight minutes, thanks largely to shooting 75 percent (9 of 12) from the field. Krisik led all scorers with 28 points.
The second quarter however was all Willard, as Ozark struggled to find an answer for Willard’s full-court press.
“There was a time there in the middle of the game where we didn’t handle their box press very well, but once we solved that everything came a little easier,” Ozark coach Steve Hunter said. “It had us out of sync for about a quarter-and-a-half but finally we figured it out.”
Kendrix scored 12 of his team-high 27 points in the second quarter.
Willard took its first lead at the 4:44 mark of the third quarter and built an 11-point lead early in the fourth period.
“I’m kind of disappointed that we didn’t win this one, but you live and you learn and you’ve got to make mistakes to learn from them and do better next time,” Kendrix said.