Glen Oaks trailed Zachary by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter, but a furious late comeback allowed the Panthers to storm back and claim a 56-53 overtime win at GOHS on Monday night.
Chris Thomas led the way for Glen Oaks (8-0) with 18 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor and 8-of-11 from the free throw line. Jalen Variste (15 points), Saiid Allen (12 points), and Roderick Augustus (10 points) all scored in double figures for the Panthers.
“I felt like once we got the lead back, we got our confidence back,” said Glen Oaks coach Harvey Adger. “I can’t say enough about this team. They did not give up.”
Morris Wright led all scorers with 22 points for Zachary (5-2), going 8-of-18 from the field, including 2-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line and 5-of-5 from the free throws. Rasheed James (17 points) was the only other Bronco to score in double digits, as the visitors spread the scoring around and got contributions from six players.
“This was tough, but I’m really proud of our guys tonight,” said Zachary coach Bakari Beckwith. “They kept their heads up and kept battling, and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
Zachary led 9-8 at the end of the first quarter, but Glen Oaks led 22-21 at halftime.
The two teams battled through a tense third quarter, and ended the first 24 minutes tied at 29, setting the stage for a thrilling finish.
What was shaping up to be an exciting final quarter threatened to turn into a surprising blowout though, as Zachary rattled off eight straight points at one stage to take a 42-33 lead. The Panthers regained their composure though and began chipping away, taking advantage of Broncos turnovers to get within one on an Allen 3-pointer and then take the lead on a pair of Thomas free throws.
“We had to reach deep down when we were down nine with three minutes left,” Adger said.
The two sides traded free throws for most of the remainder of the quarter, and with seconds left on the clock Glen Oaks had a 49-46 lead and was counting down the seconds. Wright had other ideas though and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game and send it into overtime.
After Augustus opened the overtime period with a layup, Zachary tied the game and then retook the lead on free throws by James and Wright. Thomas then sunk a free throw and later put back his own miss to give the Panthers a 54-53 lead, before Variste hit two more free throws to give Glen Oaks another three-point lead with time winding down.
This time, however, Wright’s touch from long range deserted him, and his 3-point attempt was no good, clinching the win for the Panthers.