As Nick Sierakowski’s desperation heave from midcourt hit off the back rim and bounced out, Dan Witter’s body language said it all.
The Wisconsin Rapids boys basketball coach walked a few steps away from his bench with his hands on top of his head and let out a sigh of relief as his Raiders held on for a 66-63 win over D.C. Everest in four overtimes Friday.
“Guys on both sides were making big plays, but you were more expecting things to go wrong,” said Witter, whose team improved to 5-4 and 2-2 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference. “We had the lead for awhile and then did some things to take it away. It was the same thing (with Everest). The relief is that we don’t have to think about doing one more thing that we might screw up.”
Raiders freshman Philip Flory scored six of his team-high 21 points in the fourth overtime, and his three-point play with 1:26 left gave Rapids the lead for good at 65-63.
“It feels good (to get the win). I kind of think we should have had them in the second overtime,” said Flory, who hit a step-back three from the top of the key as time ran out in the first overtime to tie the score at 47-47. “It just feels good. I thought we played as a team and played good defense.”
Everest’s Stephen Weir finished with 22 points and hit all four of his 3-pointers in the second half or overtime — each seemingly bigger than the last, including one that tied the game at 42-42 with roughly 40 seconds left in regulation.
“Stephen is a good shooter and a kid who has been a little inconsistent, but tonight he found his rhythm,” said Everest coach Cory Heckel, whose team fell to 3-4 (1-2 WVC). “I thought tonight we did a better job executing and getting looks for him.”
Weir, a sophomore guard, took his final three of the night with 13 seconds left in the fourth overtime, but the shot from the left wing hit the rim and bounced out.
Flory grabbed the rebound, was fouled and hit one of two free throw attempts.
“It was one of those things, we had the opportunity and just didn’t hit it,” Heckel said of the final shot. “It was two teams that battled, and neither wanted to roll over. I think both had opportunities to make plays to win, and unfortunately Rapids made a play in the stretch.”