Northside edges St. Thomas More in overtime _lowres

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP Northside's Darius Randell (2) passes the ball while being defended by St. Thomas More's Trevor Begue during their boys high school basketball game Monday Feb. 1, 2016 at Northside High School in Lafayette, La..

LAFAYETTE — In a battle of unbeaten District 4-4A teams, St. Thomas Moore and Northside added another storied chapter to their rivalry on Monday night. In an overtime thriller, a Darrius Randell free throw propelled Northside to victory over St. Thomas More 42-41 in overtime.

The free throw was the only point scored in overtime, and the win allowed the Vikings (18-7, 5-0) to stay unbeaten in district play.

St. Thomas More’s Jude Joseph had chance to give St. Thomas More the win after he was fouled with no time left on the clock in regulation, but he missed a pair of free throws to send the game to overtime.

STM (21-7, 4-1) got out to an early lead, using a 6-0 run to ultimately give the Cougars a 19-14 advantage after the first period. But the second quarter belonged to the Vikings. Behind the scoring duo of Brand Ellis and Darrius Randell, Northside was able to begin the second quarter on a 12-0 run. The Vikings’ stout defense did not allow STM to score its first bucket until the 4:04 mark. Northside outscored STM 16-9 in the quarter, giving the Vikings a a 30-28 lead at halftime.

Ellis led the way for the Vikings with 17 points with Randell scoring 15. The two combined to splash home six 3-pointers.

Northside coach Ross Rix talked about his two stars after the game but stressed the importance of other team members stepping up and contributing on offense.

“Those are our two guys, but we’re going to need other guys to step up and score for us,” Rix said.

Northside had just three other plays score points.

The first half saw both teams combine for 58 points, with each squad relying heavily on the 3-pointer. The second half was a different story as the game slowed down and points became an exception rather than the rule. Northside and STM combined to score just 18 points in the second half and overtime.

Late in the fourth quarter, just after crossing half court, STM held the ball for three-plus minutes.

Rix contributed the pace of play slowing down in the second half to a decision made by St. Thomas More coach Danny Broussard.

“It’s something they do in the second half when they get up. He slows it down and makes you come out and guard,” Rix said. “STM’s guards are able to go by you when you go out and guard, so we decided as a staff that we would stay back. It’s not good for the fans, but the strategy paid off.”

The Cougars were led by senior big man Will Vincent, who scored nine points. St. Thomas More had six other players chip in, including sophomore guard Jonathan Cisse, who added eight points. STM connected on three 3-pointers, just hitting one in the second half.

Monday’s game was STM’s third contest in four days. The Cougars don’t play again until Friday, traveling to Beau Chene for a district contest. Northside will will welcome Tuerlings Catholic on Friday.

Both games are set to tip at 7:30 p.m.