With a second left in the Goodpasture Cougars 62-56 win over the host team Baylor Red Raiders, it looked as if the Raiders had secured their second win of the season. The score was tied 48 all, and Baylor possessed the ball. After draining 78 seconds off the clock, expending two timeouts in the process, Nick Kurtz’s last-minute layup appeared errant.
Guard Ivan Reap leapt into the air and tipped the ball back into the cylinder and through the net. The final buzzer rang out as the ball came back to earth, and the Baylor home crowd roared in approval………for a few seconds. The referees huddled together, and made the signal for basket interference. The referees decided the ball was still in the cylinder when Reap touched it. Overtime ensued, prolonging the already-exciting game another four minutes.
Patrick “PJ” Smith Jr. was the unquestioned top option for Goodpasture the Cougars. The six-foot guard peppered in shots from all over the court. While he nailed four three point shots throughout play, Smith displayed a knack for knocking in attempts from the midrange too. In all, the sharpshooting junior guard poured in 32 of Goodpasture’s 62.
However, Smith was more than just a one-dimensional gunner against the Red Raiders. On a fastbreak in the third quarter, Smith dashed down the right sideline and could have taken a semi-contested three, had he so desired. But rather than force up an attempt, he threw a cross-court pass to teammate Cooper Pennington. Pennington caught the ball, gave a good up-fake, moved in a bit closer as the Baylor defender flew by, and canned the open 12-foot pullup.
Baylor had a more balanced attack, with center Nick Kurtz holding things down in the middle. His 17 points lead the Red Raiders, and most of his damage was done on quick duck-ins after establishing position in the post. On the other end of the spectrum, his teammate Al Peciulis was a whirlwind in the open floor.
Peciulis continually put pressure on the Cougars defense in transition, pushing the pace as he tried to drive to the cup. On an impressive sequence in the third quarter, the swingman hit the Cougars with a decisive eurostep on the one-man fastrbreak, and then sank another shot a few second later when he drove into the paint, jumpstopped, planted with both feet, and hit a floater of the outstretched arms of the Goodpasture defenders.
Overtime belonged to Goodpature though, with the Cougars outscoring the Red Raiders by a 14 to eight margin. After Smith and Isaiah West put in two early baskets and Baylor missed shot after shot, the Red Raiders were forced to play the foul game.
The foul game only works when the other team misses free throws, something Goodpasture, or more exactly PJ Smith, did not do. Smith went 8-8 at the stripe en-route to 10 points accrued in overtime alone. While Ivan Reap hit a late trey and Baylor was able to get a few points here or there, it was not enough to catch back up. Baylor falls to 1-1, while Goodpasture remains undefeated at 2-0.
BAYLOR 10 11 15 12 8-- 56
GOODPASTURE 13 14 10 11 14-- 62
BAYLOR (56) Sparkman 9, Reap 9, Peciulis 13, Kurtz 17, Ebel 8
GOODPASTURE (62) Smith 32, West 11, Murrell 8, Pennington 9, Harris 2
3-POINT GOALS: Baylor 7 (Sparkman 3, Ebel 2, Reap 1, Peciulis 1); Goodpasture 7 (Smith 4, Murrell 2, Pennington 1)