Anthony Shivers scored 29 points late Saturday night to lead Mexico to an 85-82 triple overtime win over Strafford in the “48 Hours of Hardwood” played at Greenwood Laboratory School in Springfield.
The Indians are the #3 team in Class 3. The Bulldogs are ranked #6 in Class 4. It was all you would expect in a game of some of the state’s top schools.
Mexico opened on a 6-0 run and held that lead until a couple of late first quarter buckets by the Indians. Mexico led 14-12 after one.
The Dogs continued to nibble at the lead as Shivers hit for two trey’s in the 2nd quarter and had 12 points at the break. Mexico led 29-24.
Midway through the third, Jaydon Eldridge’s first trey of the game gave Mexico its biggest lead of the night at seven, but Strafford answered with a 14-0 run to take their only lead in regulation; it too was seven points.
Two free throws with 15 seconds left in regulation gave Strafford a three-point lead, but Mexico got their 6th trey of regulation, with a step back, fall away three from Shivers as time expired.
The teams traded buckets in the first overtime, but Mexico got another huge play from Shivers. Trailing by one with 33 seconds left, Shivers drove the middle of the paint and got the layup and the foul. The and 1 gave MHS a two-point lead. It was the Indians time to answer the bell and they did so as Cody Voysey hit a runner in the lane with 19 seconds.
DJ Long answered with a left-handed layup in the lane and was fouled with 1.7 seconds left. Long hit his free throw for his 19th point of the game, but on the ensuing inbound Shivers fouled a three-point shot by all-stater, 6’5″ forward, AK Rael. He made all three free throws to tie the game and send it into double overtime.
Strafford opened the second overtime period with a couple of put-back buckets, while Mexico answered with free throws. The Indians then got a free throw, a layup and a free throw to take a 5-point lead. However, on the second free throw 6’7″ Elliott Goings fouled Dante Kelly on the rebound and he hit both of his chances at the line. Jordan Shelton then got a steal but committed an offensive foul and fouled out. Mexico then got a steal from Shivers who fed Long for a lay-in. Mexico trailed by one. Long fouled Rael. It was his fifth and he too fouled out. Real missed the first, but he hit his second. Shivers then drove and saw his layup miss the rim, but Eldredge was there for the last second put back to send the game to a third overtime.
The teams traded free throws to open the third overtime, before Dante Kelly fouled out on an offensive charge. Shivers got a rebound and went coast-to-coast and his and one gave Mexico the lead for good, 80-77.
Freshman Charlie Fisher then hit one of two free throws and added a finger-roll layup to extend to a five point lead. He would add another free throw as did Eldridge for the final margin, 85-82.
Shivers, who was named the Player of the Game, led the way for Mexico with a season-high 29 points. Long added 22 and Shelton had 15.
The Bulldogs, who came into the game shooting free throws at 47%, struggled from the charity stripe early, going six of 12 in the first half. From there the Dogs hit for 12 of their next 13, before finishing 24 for 38 at the line.
Rael finished with a game high 35 for Strafford.