DUTCHTOWN — The entire gym at Dutchtown High was seemingly affixed on the top-of-the key 3-point attempt from Walker’s Dalton Moore.
With the visiting Wildcats trailing by three points and the clock winding down inside of 10 seconds, Moore took a pass from Darius Hampton on a screen and roll and fired away.
Moore’s straight-on attempt kicked high off the back rim and into the air — further adding to Thursday’s drama – before falling through for a tying basket, forcing overtime, and that's when Walker pulled away for a 77-70 victory over Dutchtown.
“When I got it I tried to treat it like a normal shot,” said Moore, who led Walker with 20 points followed by Jacobi Scott’s 18. “When it hit off the back rim, I was nervous. When it went in, it was nice.”
Moore’s heroics carried into overtime — Walker’s first of the season — where the Wildcats (15-5) scored the final eight points of the game and outscored Dutchtown 10-3 overall.
“At the end, I was real proud of my guys because every played I called got us a shot, and they made it,” said Walker coach Anthony Schiro, whose team hosts Catholic High at 7 p.m. Friday. “Everything we ran, we executed and made big shots.”
With Josh and Jalen Cook attending a family reunion, Walker had to rally from a 37-30 third-quarter deficit following a pair of free throws from Gary Smith, who scored 12 points off Dutchtown’s bench.
Walker also managed to overcome the torrid shooting of Nicholas Caldwell, whose five 3-pointers were part of his game-high 32-point effort, including 22 in the second half.
“They willed themselves back, which they’ve been displaying that for the most part every game,” Dutchtown coach Patrick Hill said of his team comeback from a nine-point deficit to lead 33-28 at halftime. “This was one of those games where it was whoever had the ball last in their hands.”
Caldwell and his brother Neil combined to score six straight points, giving Dutchtown (13-7) a 57-51 lead with 5:26 left in regulation when Walker guard Le Davis tied the game at 60-all followed by a pair of lead changes.
Devin Jackson’s putback and two free throws from Nicholas Caldwell provided Dutchtown with a 67-64 lead with 18.1 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Moore, who not only made the game-tying shot, but blocked Neil Caldwell’s baseline shot at the buzzer.
Dutchtown took its only lead in overtime — 70-69 on Neil Caldwell’s 3-pointer with 2:44 remaining — but the Griffins missed their final eight shots, in part with Moore face-guarding Nicholas Caldwell and holding him scoreless over the last six minutes.
Davis, who started in place of Jalen Cook and scored 14 points, gave Walker the lead for good (71-70) with 2:19 to play, and the Wildcats went 6 of 10 from the free-throw line to nail down the victory.
“That shows how tough we are,” Moore said. “How we’ve got to grind out wins when it’s tough like this.”