Zach Chastain connected with two free throws in overtime to push Crane to a 51-48 win over Flippin, Arkansas in the third annual Ozark Mountain Shootout at Glendale High School on Saturday morning.
Chastain led the Pirates with 15 points as Crane had to battle back after blowing an 8-point, fourth-quarter lead to get the game into overtime.
Crane coach Dale Lambert was grateful for Chastain’s free-throw shooting prowess, as he was 5 of 6 from the line in the fourth quarter and overtime period.
“Ryan made some key free throws for us. I wasn’t happy with his shooting from the floor but he showed leadership and guts on his part today,” Lambert said.
Crane took a 37-30 lead into the fourth quarter and pushed it to 42-34 with 4:34 left but Flippin went on a 10-0 run to take a 44-42 lead with :10 left.
The Pirates got the game into overtime when Clay Stumpff was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Flippin’s Spencer Politte with three seconds left. Stumpff missed his first attempt, but made the last two to send the game into the extra period.
“We showed composure out there,” Lambert said. “We needed a game like this to grind one out. We haven’t had a close game for while. We overcame a lot of obstacles and held them to four points in the overtime.”
Crane’s full-court press was not working during the early part of the game as Flippin broke it for some easy scores, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the first quarter by Jacob Leonard.
But Crane’s defense tightened and Leonard didn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter.
Senior Dean Smyser, a 6-foot-6 power forward, was the scoring leader for Flippin, with 20 points and scoring at critical points in the game to keep his team close. He scored back-to-back baskets from underneath during his team’s 10-0 run in the fourth. He also scored Flippin’s only field goal in the overtime.
“They threw us off in the beginning,” Lambert said. “They didn’t have any problem handling the press. We know we’re not the tallest team but we have boys with more heart and desire.”
Crane showed some of that heart in the second half when it seemed they were beating Flippin to loose balls and jumping for rebounds. The Pirates held Flippin to six points in the third quarter.
“Smyser is a very good player. We had to stay with our game plan. We were keeping the energy up,” Chastain said.