Heath Carmichael didn’t have the greatest shooting performance of his life, but he made the most of his chance when Ozark needed him the most.
Carmichael drained a 3-pointer to put the Tigers in the lead with 41 seconds remaining in Ozark’s 76-71 win over Glendale Friday night at Falcon Court. The senior scored 14 points, but none were more critical than the final three that came in the final minute of a solid win.
“Those are the best moments, especially with a packed house like it was, those are the moments that I really enjoy,” Carmichael said.
Glendale took a two-point lead with 1:12 on the fourth quarter clock thanks to freshman Jordan Walton’s 3-pointer from the left wing. Ozark settled in to run its offense when Carmichael caught a pass at the top of the key, dribbled once and stepped right, and then let fly of the winning shot.
“We were just running motion — a big shot by Glendale to give them the lead and we were just running motion trying to get a good look, and it so happened I got a good screen and got a good look,” Carmichael said.
“That was a big shot for a freshman,” Ozark coach Mark Schweitzer said. “And then Heath answered. This was just a good old fashioned high school basketball game.”
Riley Simmons scored all three of his points on free throws in the final minute to seal the win for the Tigers. Chandler Lyon led Ozark with 31 points and hit three 3-pointers of his own.
“That’s the ability that Chandler has that people don’t know about. They want to sag off of him because he’s so hard to keep in front and he’s so strong to keep in front of the rim,” Schweitzer said.
Lyon looked strong inside, hitting layups off of spins to his left and right. He showed a shooting repertoire that may have surprised Glendale, but isn’t surprising considering Lyon’s reputation for a strong work ethic.
“I get up at 5 in the morning just to go shoot,” Lyon said.
All five of Glendale’s starters reached double figures in scoring with Ryan Wester’s 17 points leading the Falcons. However, Glendale got no points from its bench and defended in a way that didn’t please coach Brian McTague.
“We have to guard. That’s one thing that we’ve done pretty well so far,” McTague said. “It’s hard to win if you give up 76 points, so we’ve got to get better.”
Lyon posted up and worked from the blocks as Glendale’s forwards fell into some late foul trouble.
“(Lyon) just goes right to the goal every time and we didn’t do a good job of help defense. We let it be one-on-one in there, and he’s a load. He wasn’t going to be soft when he went in there,” McTague said.
“The refs really let us play and I was glad of that. I like when refs let us play and it was a physical game,” Lyon said.
Thomas Nelson scored 15 points for Ozark, while freshman Monty Johal of Glendale had a solid offensive night with 15 points.
Ozark will be off until Wednesday, when the Tigers open a tournament in Rogersville against Gainesville. Glendale’s varsity squad is off until next Friday, when the Falcons go to Waynesville to play the No. 4 Tigers in an Ozark Conference game.