Northmor needed an extra four minutes and some gritty defense during Friday night’s boys Division III sectional game against KMAC rival Fredericktown.
But the host Golden Knights (16-7) made those minutes count, outscoring the Freddies 15-6 in the extra period for a 63-54 win and a berth in the district semi-finals Tuesday.
“When you have two conference teams playing for a sectional title …We knew it could come down to the end. Both teams knew each other very well,” Northmor coach Zach Ruth said.
“The home court got us the win tonight. We really fed off that and once it go to overtime we thought we had a pretty good shot of getting it done.”
Northmor led 12-11 after a quarter, but trailed 27-24 at halftime.
A balanced scoring attack helped secure the win, as Kooper Keen and Hunter Mariotti had 14 each. Blake Miller added 11 and Logan Randolph 10.
“That’s Northmor basketball,” Ruth said. “In 11 years, I believe 17 points is the most anyone has averaged for us. Hunter went for 30 the other night, but you just never know who’s going to fill it up that night.”
Max Lower and Graesin Cass, who came off the bench, each scored seven.
“It’s the first time Cass has played for two months. It was pretty special to get him in there and he was a spark for us,” Ruth added.
He said his squad went through injuries earlier in the season including Cass, who broke his hand.
“Max is a freshman playing in this atmosphere and hitting those knock-down foul shots and scoring around the basket.”
The Freddies kept things close and forced overtime at 48-48. They went into a stall the final minute and a half but couldn’t score.
“We hang our hat on that defensive nail and we held them completely in check for close to two minutes,” Ruth said.
Northmor took a 41-38 lead into the fourth period courtesy of a Mariotti basket. Keen added another to open the fourth as the Knights went ahead 43-38.
But Caleb Sheriff drilled a three to bring the Freddies back to 46-44. Keen again scored from inside to tie the game with 1:13 left in regulation.
Fredericktown ends its season at 15-9. Leading the way was Lincoln Cunningham with 17, Sheriff with 16 and Terry Fearn with 15.
“We just cut a net down last week for a conference championship and now we get to do another one tonight. I’m proud of my team and this community. I challenge all my guys, maybe a little bit over the top at times. But they respond every time and at the end of the day they love it.”
The Knights play Worthington Christian Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Highland High School. Worthington Christian beat Milford Center Fairbanks, 59-33.