Byrd wins overtime thriller over Fair Park in Bossier tourney

Trey Rogers capped a sensational rally for the Byrd Yellow Jackets, sinking a driving layup at the overtime buzzer to defeat the Fair Park Indians, 75-73, and advance in the 74th Annual Bossier High School Invitational Tournament Thursday night at Bossier Parish Community College.

“We had to have it,” said Rogers, who’s Yellow Jackets improved to 15-1 on the season, their lone loss coming last month against these same Indians (7-9). “We had fought back so hard, and right there at the end, my teammates got me the ball and I made the shot. Feels great to win a game like that.”

Byrd will play the Huntington in a quarterfinal game today at 8 p.m. at Bossier High.

The Yellow Jackets trailed by as many as 14 points after Fair Park held them without a field goal for nearly a full quarter in the first half. The Indians took a 10-9 lead three minutes into the game, and Byrd never even tied the contest until Chad Lott’s layup with 4.9 seconds left in regulation knotted the score and sent the game to overtime.

“Free throws,” said Byrd head coach Rusty Johnson. “We didn’t make enough of them. We missed 30 free throws in this game. We were lucky to get out of here with a win. They’re a well-coached team, and you can’t make that many mistakes against a team like that and expect to win.”

Another thorn in the Yellow Jackets’ side was Fair Park’s D’Angelo McClinton. In the earlier meeting between the two schools, McClinton had lived up to his vow to outplay his good friend Lott by scoring 36 points in the Indians’ 78-74 victory on December 10. In this matchup, he only outscored Lott 20-16, but seemed to be all over the court, finishing with eight rebounds, seven assists and seven steals in addition to masterfully running his team’s offense.

“D-Mac is our engine,” said Fair Park coach Eddie Hamilton. “He hustles to every loose ball. He puts players in the right spots. He gives everything he has every time he’s on the court. I think he raises the level of his game with he goes against Chad.”

Byrd finally began to overcome the play of McClinton in the second half, and a furious finish to the fourth quarter put the senior in position to ice the game from the free throw line. His two misses, however, paved the way for Lott’s tying basket.

“When the second one (free throw) didn’t fall, I tried to get out ahead of the pack,” said Lott. “I looked up and the ball was right on me. I almost missed it, but once I controlled it, it was just a matter of finishing.”

Early in the overtime, Byrd’s David Holmes took a pass under the basket, and his slam dunk gave the Jackets their first lead since midway through the first quarter. Rogers then hit a 3-pointer to give Byrd its biggest lead at 69-63 before the Indians steadily chipped away, taking a 73-72 lead with 20 seconds to play in OT on an Emerson Taylor layup after a furious scramble for the loose ball.

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