Leon boys outlast Trojans in double-OT

Leon boys outlast Trojans in double-OT


Leon boys outlast Trojans in double-OT


Like heavyweight prizefighters trading blows, Lincoln and Leon gave each other their best shots in a Friday night classic.

Punch No. 1: Lincoln’s comeback from nine points down to force overtime in an odd regulation finish, complete with technical free throws for a Trojans no-timeouts violation and a miss that could have sent Leon out a winner.

Punch No. 2: Alex Perry only hit one field goal for Lincoln, but it came at the end of the first overtime period when he sunk a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game again.

But in the second overtime, Leon senior Willie Willis, he of the free throw miss which could have won seven minutes earlier, rose up and drilled a 3-pointer to give Leon a 64-62 lead. It was the knockout punch.

Willis hit a runner seconds later for a needed four-point cushion and JahVaughn Powell’s trey at the buzzer was off its mark, giving Leon a thrilling, 68-65 district victory.

“We knew as a team we could pull it out,” said Willis, who scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds. “There was nothing to (the shot). I just made the shot. It’s how I practice. It’s all muscle memory.”

Powell scored a game-high 22 points for the Trojans (16-6, 3-1 District 2-7A), while corralling seven rebounds and dishing out five assists, including a trusting toss to Perry when it mattered most. The senior point guard willed his team back into a game in which both teams’ pace was high-octane and a little reckless.

“Give Leon credit, they won and showed why they’re one of the best teams in the city,” Lincoln coach Dimitric Salters said. “We withstood their runs and they withstood our runs. They were the better team tonight.”

Cameron Knight scored nine points with seven rebounds, while Kameron Mack tallied 16 points, including a 3-pointer in the final seconds of double-overtime, which pulled Lincoln back to a point before Leon sophomore Justin Walker toughed in a layup to provide the final margin.

Walker led Leon (17-6, 3-1) with 14 points, while seniors Marvin Biggins added 13 and Michael Leak provided 10 points off the bench. With tied records in the district and a regular-season split, the top seeding for the district tournament will come down to a coin toss.

“I tried to get my seniors to step up and show some leadership because this is their season,” Lions coach Rick Davis said. “You have to give it all you have when you’re on the floor, you have to step up. This could be the last hurrah.

“I give credit to Lincoln because they fought and didn’t give up, just like us. Basketball is a game of spurts and they made their run. I told my guys to be ready to make ours.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports