Curtis boys basketball coach Tim Kelly knew before Tuesday’s matchup at Puyallup that his team was entering a hostile environment.
A solid night of shooting from three-point range helped keep Puyallup in the game and its student section only fed the fire. But Curtis snuck away with a 75-68 overtime win behind 26 points from Aushanti Potts-Woods and 24 from John Moore.
“It’s always tough when we come here,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t anything that wasn’t expected.”
Curtis, which is ranked No. 7 in the AP poll, led for almost the entirety of regulation and it wasn’t until 1:40 left in the third quarter that Puyallup had its first lead.
Puyallup guard Dane Iverson had seven straight fourth-quarter points that led the Vikings into overtime. He hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions with under three minutes left in the game and put Puyallup ahead 63-60 with exactly one minute left.
Potts-Woods scored and drew a foul on the ensuing possession to tie it at 63 and send the game to OT.
Once in overtime, Moore took over for Curtis, scoring eight of its 12 points.
“I think when it came time that we needed to, between John and Semaj Booker, we pounded it inside and got some easy baskets and got enough stops and rebounds on the other end,” Kelly said.
With 20 seconds left in overtime and Curtis leading 73-68, an open look at a three-pointer from Iverson rimmed out.
“Our kids handled a lot of adversity and runs by Curtis,” Puyallup head coach Scott Campbell said. “We just came up one shot short.”
Kelly addressed Puyallup’s outside shooting, saying Curtis probably could have defended better.
“We just didn’t do a very good job of keeping penetration in front,” he said. “That allowed them to kick out and get some more open looks instead of contested looks.
Curtis has no seniors on its roster and Moore is just a sophomore. He thinks that getting through games like Tuesday’s will prepare the Vikings for a potential playoff run.
“It gets us ready for the playoffs and just getting ready for the atmosphere, because they had a big fan section and a nice band,” he said.
Curtis is now 9-0 in league play while Puyallup drops to 3-5.