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Hillbillies advance with overtime thriller over Bulldogs


Man's Chris Isaacs (10) blocks the shot of Van's Gavin Branham (4) during the first quarter of the Hillbillies 62-60 overtime victory in the Class A Region 4 Section 1 tournament Monday night at Van High School (Photo by Bill Lusk/WVOW Sports).


Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports


VAN Cam Gerace scored five straight points in overtime to spark fifth-seed Man to a 62-60 overtime road win over fourth-seeded Van in the opening round of the Class A Region 4 Section 1 tournament at Van High School.


Gerace’s first basket in the extra frame gave Man a three-point advantage, 57-54, with 2:36 to play before Van’s Shuan Booth cut the deficit to one point, 57-56, with 1:59 to play.


With Man in possession of the ball, all the Hillbillies had to do was run some clock and force the Bulldogs to foul them, but Gerace had other ideas as he drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:42 remaining to give Man a four-point advantage, 60-56.


“He freaked us out when he shot that 3,” Man assistant coach Jack McDaniels said. “He definitely came up big and that is what these kids have been preparing for all year.”


Devon Sanders came up with a steal on the Bulldogs next possession and knocked down a pair of free throws to put Man on top 62-56 with 1:19 to play.


Van wouldn’t back down as Josh Marcum hit a 3 from the right corner to bring Van within three, 62-59, with 41 seconds remaining.


Gavin Branham came away with a steal with 34 seconds remaining and had a chance to tie the game for the Bulldogs with a 3 from the top of the key, but his attempt was short and rebounded by Jax McCarty, who was fouled by Chris Isaacs on the play with 24 second remaining.


McCarty made the first to cut the deficit to 62-60, but missed the second attempt as Isaacs rebounded the miss and was fouled with 19 seconds remaining.


Isaacs missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity as the rebound went out of bounds giving the Bulldogs possession and one final attempt to force a second overtime period or win with a 3-pointer.


Branham’s five-foot jumper was short with two seconds remaining and rebounded by Isaacs, who dribbled out the remaining seconds to preserve the Man win.


Isaacs was one of four Man starters in double figures led by Caleb Vance with 14 points. Kaleb Mullins finished with 13, Isaacs 12 and Sanders 10 while senior Colton Miller finished with eight points, two points shy of being the fifth Hillbilly starter to reach double figures.


“We have been saying all year that we needed to have a complete game with all of our kids,” McDaniels said. “We didn’t have great games out of all of them, but we had good games out of all of them and that helped us a lot.”

The win for Man was its second in a row and second consecutive over the Bulldogs, who the Hillbillies defeated 57-48 on Senior Night at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse on Feb. 24.


“They have worked their tails off and they are finally coming together,” McDaniels said. “We were hoping it would come mid-January, but I will take the end of February coming together that sounds great.”


The win improved Man to 4-19 earning them a date in the sectional semifinal against Tug Valley while Van ended the season at 2-20.


McDaniels, who was serving as head coach after TJ Blevins was whistled for two technical fouls in a loss at River View on Feb. 23.


Seniors Isaacs, Miller and Vance made a promise to Blevins that they would win the two games during his suspension and guarantee him at least one final game during their senior season.


The trio backed up their promise and Blevins will return to the bench for the Hillbillies sectional semifinal at top-seed and second ranked Tug Valley.


“They love coach,” McDaniels said. “They won this one for him that is for sure.”


Man got off to a good start in the first quarter, leading by as many as six points, 13-7, on a layup from Mullins with 1:51 to play in the opening quarter.


Van got a basket from McCarty with 31 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to four, 13-9, but Vance answered with a deep 3 with five seconds remaining to give Man a 16-9 lead after one quarter.


Van began the second quarter with seven straight points and tied the contest at 16 on McCarty’s five-foot jumper with 5:11 to play before halftime.


Man regained the lead, 18-16, on a basket from Sanders with 4:30 to play, but the Bulldogs closed the half on a 14-7 run and led 30-25 at halftime.


A Booth 3 with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter gave Van its biggest lead, 33-25, but the Hillbillies closed the quarter on a 17-6 run and led 42-39 after three quarters.


For the Hillbillies, the third quarter had been the team’s downfall throughout the season, but in their last two games Man outscored Van 37-15 in the third quarter.


“We came out after halftime and really stepped up,” McDaniels said. “I am proud of these boys, it all them and all the hard work they have put in.”


Branham’s 3 on Van’s first possession of the fourth quarter tied the game at 42 with 7:39 remaining before Isaacs hit a layup to give the Hillbillies a 44-42 lead with 6:18 to play.


Van responded with an 8-2 run and led by four, 50-46, with 4:02 to play following McCatry’s 3-point play.


Man answered with six straight points and tying the game at 50 on Isaacs’ six-foot jumper with 1:32 remaining and taking the lead, 52-50, with 1:04 remaining after a pair of free throws from Sanders.


McCarty knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game at 52 with 40 seconds to play. Man held for the final shot, but Miller’s 21-foot 3 was short as the buzzer sounded to end regulation.


Van got a basket from Booth with 3:54 to take its only lead, 54-52, of the overtime period.


Man answered with a 10-4 run to take a six-point lead, 62-56, following Sanders free throws.


Sanders was 6 of 8 from the foul line for Man, who was 11 of 16 from the charity stripe. Isaacs had eight rebounds and a pair of block shots while Miller finished with eight boards and six assists for the Hillbillies.


McCarty led Van with 31 points and 16 rebounds, 12 of which coming on the offensive glass. Booth and Branham finished with 10 points each and Marcum had nine points for the Bulldogs.


Van outrebounded Man 42-35 but was held to 30% shooting from the floor while Man shot 43% from the field.

Man 62, Van 60


Man (4-19)

Vance 5-15 0-0 14, Mullins 5-9 3-3 13, Isaacs 6-10 0-1 12, Sanders 2-3 6-8 10,

Miller 3-13 2-3 8, Gerace 2-3 0-1 5. Totals: 23-53 11-16 62


Van (2-20)

McCarty 10-27 10-16 31, Booth 4-17 1-4 10, Branham, G. 3-10 1-3 10,

Marcum 3-7 0-0 9, Branham, I. 0-5 0-0 0. Totals: 20-66 12-23 60


Man 16 9 17 10 10- 62

Van 9 21 9 13 8- 60

3-point field goals_Man 5-20 (Vance 4-13, Mullins 0-2, Miller 0-4, Gerace 1-1), Van 8-35

(McCarty 1-7, Booth 1-11, Branhan, G. 3-7, Marcum 3-6, Branham, I. 0-4). Fouled

out_Mullins. Rebounds_Man 35 (Isaacs 8, Miller 8), Van 42 (McCarty 16).

Assists_Man 10 (Miller 6), Van 12 (Booth 6). Total fouls_Man 18, Van 11.

Technicals_McDaniels.











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