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Blair Oaks takes over in OT to defeat Jays

Blair Oaks takes over in OT to defeat Jays

February 9th, 2019 by Jason Strickland in Sports Prep
Eric Northweather of Blair Oaks slams home a two-handed dunk during overtime of Friday night's game against Jefferson City at Fleming Fieldhouse.

Eric Northweather of Blair Oaks slams home a...

Photo by Jason Strickland /News Tribune.

It just wouldn't be right if Jefferson City and Blair Oaks only played four quarters after not facing each other since 2011.

The Jays rallied from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but Dru Rackers set the tone in overtime and Eric Northweather and Trent Martin finished it off as the Falcons prevailed for an 81-76 victory at Fleming Fieldhouse.

"It was a great game, a great atmosphere, two teams battling it out," Blair Oaks coach Ryan Fick said. "It was a fun one to be a part of."

Brennan Jeffries brought the Jays back from a 64-57 deficit with less than four minutes left in regulation.

A Jeffries layup started the 7-0 run with 3:31 left. Nearly two minutes later, Jeffries poked the ball away from the Falcons near midcourt and scored to cut it to 64-62.

Then on Blair Oaks' next possession, a pass inside bounced out of bounds and Jeffries tied it with a pair of free throws with :35.5 left in the fourth quarter.

After the Jays and Falcons traded timeouts, the 6-foot-8 Northweather ended up taking a contested shot over 6-1 Ben Folz from the right elbow. It missed the mark to sent it to overtime.

"I thought they would maybe collapse on Eric or help on Eric and we had a backdoor look that was possibly there, but it would have taken almost a perfect pass," Fick said. "We had Trent cutting off of Eric and Eric also has the option to read the defense and go make a play."

To even get to that point, the Jays' defense helped cause five Blair Oaks turnovers in the fourth quarter after the Falcons only gave it away eight times in the first three quarter.

"We guarded pretty well on the last possession," Jefferson City coach Mark Anderson said. " You just kind of brace yourself."

The Jays could take a breathe after the miss, but then Rackers took over the start of overtime with six points in the first 1:30 of the period.

The second of three baskets came when Rackers got open down the floor following a Jeffries layup.

"Rackers plays as hard as anybody we played this year," Anderson said. "His motor just never stops. It doesn't stop on post-ups, it doesn't stop going after offensive rebounds, it doesn't stop running the floor. That was a huge basket in that game."

The Jays were never able to get any closer than four the rest of the way.

Martin went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final 24 seconds to seal the 12th straight win for Blair Oaks (18-5).

"We took care of business in overtime," Fick said.

Blair Oaks began the game on a 10-2 run, which concluded with a two-handed dunk by Northweather.

But the Jays eventually tied it at 15 on a Ryan Brooks jumper and only trailed 20-19 after the opening quarter thanks to a buzzer-beater by Jeffries, who scored a game-high 30 points and led the Jays with 10 rebounds.

Jefferson City scored the first seven points in the second quarter and led 40-31 at halftime.

"After that I thought we responded pretty well," Anderson said. "It looked like we took control of the game and then halftime came at the absolute wrong time."

Northweather tied it at 46 with a three-point play with 3:35 left in the third quarter and Blair Oaks led 53-48 heading to the fourth quarter.

"Just too many little breakdowns throughout the course of the game that you can't have against those guys," Anderson said.

Martin made 4-of-8 from beyond the arc on his way to 23 points for Blair Oaks. Rackers was 10-of-13 for 20 points and Northweather had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

"I thought Ben did a really good job on Northweather," Anderson said. "He was physical with him, he made his points come pretty tough."

Folz finished with 13 points for the Jays, Brooks added 11 and Michael Appiah-Brefo tallied 10.

This was the first time the Jays and Falcons played each other since the Great 8 Classic in 2011.

"This was a fun game for our guys," Fick said. "Both teams know each other well. A lot of the guys play together during the summer and have played against each other growing up. It was a great atmosphere and just a fun game overall."

Both teams are back in action Tuesday when Blair Oaks will host California and Jefferson City (10-12) will host Helias.

Blair Oaks won Friday night's JV game 45-43 to improve to 18-1. Quinn Kusgen led Blair Oaks with 15 points, Luke Northweather scored 11 and Carson Prenger added 10.