Leopards Lose Lead, Fall to Aviators in Overtime – Boys Basketball
Louisville 63, Alliance 59
The Louisville Leopards fell to the visiting Alliance Aviators 63-59 in overtime during their home opener Friday Night at Louisville High School. With the loss, Louisville drops to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the NBC.
Points came at a premium at the start for everyone except King who scored 7 in the opening period. The Leopards claimed the early advantage 10-7 at the end of the first eight minutes as a result. The two teams exchanged leads in the second quarter that saw Zeller score 9 of Louisville’s 17 points in the period. The Leopards found themselves on top 27-26 at the half after Davis Burick drove to the hole and scored as the horn sounded.
The pace picked up even more in a third quarter of momentum swings. Alliance used a 10-0 run to take a 38-31 lead with under two minutes left on the clock. Louisville answered back in no time at all…literally. Travis Jones scored while being fouled to cut the deficit to 38-33 with 1:34 remaining. The clock remained frozen on that time for several possessions by error.
Jones missed the free throw attempt but retained possession with an offensive board. Zeller cashed in a three instantly after to shrink the margin to 38-36. The Leopards defense clamped down and Jones pulled down the rebound on the defensive end. He kicked it ahead to Brandon Wahl who hit King for a layup. This knotted the game at 38-38 with still 1:34 remaining as the clock started up again.
An offensive foul by the Aviators gave the ball back to Louisville. Burick held the ball patiently on the left elbow and a delivered a bounce pass to the streaking Scott Gronow to cap up the 9-0 run with a layup that gave the Leopards a 40-38 advantage.
Jeff Talbert answered with a three on the other end to give the Aviators the lead back. The lead changed again when Zeller threw a Hail Mary from the baseline to King for a bucket. Seconds later Burick intercepted the ensuing inbound pass and scored again to put Louisville ahead 44-41. But Demarko Brooks scored on the other end for Alliance to make it 44-43 heading into the final period.
The Aviators took the lead back in the fourth quarter, but the Leopards used a 9-1 run to pull ahead 55-50. On the offensive side of the ball, Zeller hit a three, Burick scored in the lane, and Gronow canned a deep two in the left corner to make it 53-50 LHS. The Louisville defense held Alliance scoreless from the field for nearly 5 minutes and held them off the board entirely for 8 consecutive possessions during the run.
The Leopards final score of that run was also sparked by a stellar effort on the defensive end. King and Zeller closed in on the Alliance dribbler jarring the ball free. Spencer Hall picked up the loose ball and passed to Gronow who relayed it to King for the fast break lay-in at the 2:30 mark. This gave Louisville a commanding 55-50 lead.
Then it all came unraveled. Tensions were high between the Leopards bench and the officials after a timeout was called. Louisville missed an opportunity to cash in at the line, but a travel by the Aviators gave the ball back to the Leopards. Louisville then turned the ball over after stepping out of bounds on a close play in front of the scorer’s table. Tensions got higher.
Finally the bubble burst after Alliance’s Sarrick Sampson was fouled while scoring to end the Aviators drought. A technical was called on the Leopards bench and a separate technical was called on Louisville from the floor. Despite all the extracurricular, Sampson made just 2 of the 5 consecutive free throw attempts from the line and the Leopards still maintained a 55-54 advantage. However, Alliance retained possessions because of the technicals and Sampson drew another foul. He split the pair from the line to tie the game at 55-55 with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter.
Louisville ran the clock all the way down on the other end. A good looking drive to the bucket went too hard off the glass and a rushed last second three missed its mark to send the game into overtime.
Each team failed to score on their first possession of the extra period. Brooks broke the ice with a bucket at the 2:42 mark to put the Aviators ahead 57-55. After another stop, Brooks drew a foul and split a pair of shots from the charity stride to add to the Alliance lead. .
The Leopards answered back on the other end as Gronow used a pick from Hall to create a wide open layup. After another pair of Brooks free throws connected, Wahl got Louisville to within 60-59 on a putback with exactly 1:00 to play.
Alliance went back to the big man on the next possession and Sampson got back to the line. He hit the first of the two freebies to put the Aviators up 61-59 with 32.4 seconds left. Louisville worked the ball around as the clock ticked away. Sampson’s defense made the Leopards layup attempt particularily difficult and it managed to only find the top of the glass. Sampson pulled down the rebound and passed to Brooks. He was fouled and iced the game by nailing both double bonus free throw attempts with 7.7 seconds left.
Brooks would finish with 7 of his 19 points for the evening in overtime. Sampson would score 7 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Aviators. Alliance made 23 of 34 (68%) free throws for the game, while Louisville shot just 4 of 12 (33%) from the charity strike. Tyler Johns also scored 9 and Talbert added 8 for the Aviators.
With the loss, Louisville has now dropped 4 of their last 5 against Alliance overall. The away team in this series has won the last three matchups. The Aviators lead the all-time head-to-head series 44-17 dating back to 1928.
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UP NEXT: The Leopards will next hit the road for North Canton to take on the Hoover Vikings on Wednesday, December 27. JV will begin at 6:00 PM and Varsity will follow around 7:30 PM.
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AVIATORS 63, LEOPARDS 59
AVIATORS: Sampson 5 10-15 20, Brooks 7 5-6 19, Johns 3 2-5 9, Talbert 3 1-2 8, Strata 1 5-6 7. TOTAL 19 23-34 63.
3-Pointers (2): Johns, Talbert
Team FT: 23-34 68%
LEOPARDS: Zeller 7 0-0 18, King 6 2-2 15, Burick 3 1-4 7, Gronow 3 0-1 6, Wahl 2 1-2 5, Zuppe 2 0-1 4, T. Jones 1 0-1 2, Pukys 1 0-0 2, Hall 0 0-1 0. TOTAL 25 4-12 59.
3-Pointers (5): Zeller 4, King
Team FT: 4-12 30%
Fouls: 22-15 Louisville
Turnovers: 24-15 Alliance
Records: Louisville 3-2, 1-1
JV: Louisville 68, Alliance 48
LEOPARDS 68, AVIATORS 48
AVIATORS: Strata 6 1-1 14, Alexander 2 2-2 6, Cox 2 0-0 5, Bruni 2 0-0 4, Ford 1 2-2 4, Gaffney 2 0-2 4, Jackson 2 0-0 4, Oldfield 1 1-3 3, Moore 1 0-0 2, Wood 1 0-0 2. TOTAL 20 6-10 48.
3-Pointers (2): Cox, Strata
Team FT: 6-10 60%
LEOPARDS: Chambers 8 2-3 20, Gronow 4 3-6 11, Pickens 4 3-5 11, Wright 2 2-2 8, Hoffman 2 1-2 5, Rode 2 0-0 4, Staley 2 0-0 4, Pukys 1 0-0 3, Noble 1 0-0 2. TOTAL 26 11-18 68.
3-Pointers (5): Chambers 2, Wright 2, Pukys
Team FT: 11-18 61%
Fouls 18-16 Alliance
Turnovers: 21-11 Alliance
Records: Louisville 2-2, 2-0