The host Shoemaker Grey Wolves and Copperas Cove Bulldawgs played four quarters and one overtime of basketball on Wednesday night.
And now this 80-78 game belongs to the ages.
In the regular-season finale, Shoemaker needed a win to clinch a share of the District 8-5A championship. Cove needed a win to earn a postseason berth.
In a pulse-pounding thriller of a finish, Cove star Rashard Odomes gave a perfect feed to a cutting Elijah Sobers who tossed in a 3-footer just before time expired and the Cove faithful stormed the court in celebration.
“One of the biggest shots of my life,” Sobers said. “I can’t even describe how happy I am right now for my teammates and myself.”
“The most intense game I’ve ever been involved in,” said Cove point guard Montre’ Williams who was sensational start to finish. Williams had a game-high seven assists, five rebounds and tallied 21 points — 10 in the fourth quarter and six in overtime.
“It’s an incredible feeling knowing that we won a game like this to put ourselves into the playoffs,” said Odomes, who scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
“This is a contest that my players and our fans will be able to remember the rest of their lives,” said Cove head coach Billy White Jr. “A night like tonight is why you play the game of basketball. The whole place was rowdy and they saw one fantastic basketball game.”
Shoemaker led 11-10 after one quarter and the score was tied 30-30 at halftime. Grey Wolves forward Nykolas Dawson scored 15 first-half points (20 total).
Cove led 46-45 heading into the final frame which proved to be a heart-stopping, furious eight minutes of action.
Dawson scored from close range with 55 seconds left and Shoemaker led 66-63.
With 39 seconds left, Odomes was open. But that’s because he was 29-feet from the hoop.
It didn’t matter.
The sharp-shooting 6-foot-6 lefty gunslinger let it fly, swished a 29-footer and the contest was tied.
“I had to take it,” Odomes said. “And it turned out to be a big shot because it put the game into overtime.”
“As far out as Rashard was, I guarantee you that he still felt confident it was going straight in,” White said.
Shoemaker took a quick 72-66 lead in overtime but Williams retaliated, hitting three field goals within 58 seconds.
With three seconds left, Cove (8-6, 17-14) had the ball out of bounds on Shoemaker’s half of the court. Cove guard Marquise Moreland held the ball and looked at his coach.
“Coach wanted me to throw the ball into Rashard,” Moreland said. “So that’s what I did.”
Odomes caught the ball on the baseline looking to fire away or drive but was quickly double-teamed.
“You have to credit Shoemaker there,” White said. “They weren’t about to let Rashard get the shot.”
“I was looking to drive, maybe draw the foul, but I saw my teammate Elijah Sobers was wide open,” Odomes said. “I knew I needed to make that pass. And I knew he’d hit the shot.”
Sobers, standing at the perimeter, was cutting right to the hoop. “I was thinking that we had to score this bucket and win the game,” he said. “I just wanted to finish the play that Coach called and that meant I was supposed to dive right to the hoop. Rashard hit me with the perfect pass and I finished it up.”
Sobers scored 14 points and teammates John Brown and Elafayette Stone scored seven apiece.
Shoemaker’s Shane Johnson grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, dished five assists and scored 14 points. Also for Shoemaker, Torenzo Saunders scored 17 points and Patrick Mark 12.
Shoemaker (11-3, 21-7) finished second in the district to champion Harker Heights.
“I wasn’t happy at all with the way we played tonight,” said Shoemaker head coach Emund Prichett. “We didn’t rebound well and we didn’t play strong enough defense. But this is just one game, one loss — it wasn’t the Super Bowl. We’ll be fine and we’ll regroup and get ready for the playoffs.”
“This win means so much to us,” Sobers said. “We’re in the playoffs, we finished tied for third in our district. It was the most intense game of our lives. We hustled, we executed and we came out with the win.”
Contact Allan Mandell at email@example.com or 254-501-7566 and read his blog at KDHPressbox.com