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Eagles Rally for Victory in OT

February 23, 2012
Madison Southern High School

For two and a half quarters Model looked to be in control of their first round game against Madison Southern.  Model led by five at halftime and increased their lead to nine midway through the third quarter before the Eagles got hot.  Tyler Abshear, who shot three of seventeen in the first half, started hitting shots and Southern's pressure defense seemed to wear Model down as the game neared the conclusion.  Southern finally managed to get the lead at 40-39 with a little over six minutes remaining in the game.  During the next six minutes, the teams would swap the lead several times with Model and Southern both making tough shots and showing neither team wanted to lose.  "One of the most exciting district tournament games I've ever been a part of," said head coach Shane Buttry. 

With 43 seconds on the clock, Abshear scored to put the Eagles up two.  Model's next possession resulted in a foul called against the Eagles and Jesse Middleton hitting one of two free throws.  Southern beat the Model press, but a pass from Abshear to Brandon McGuire went wide and ended up in the Southern bench giving Model the ball with 19.5 seconds remaining.  Wayne Morris of Model hit a tough bank shot from eight feet away on the left side of the lane to give Model what looked to be the game winner with 4.5 seconds remaining. 

With the Eagles down one and needing to go the length of the floor, Buttry designed a play for Abshear to get the ball and quickly move down the court.  Model covered Abshear through a double screen, leaving freshmen Damien Harris open.  Harris took the ball and drove to the basket for what appeared to be a chance for a game winning layup but was fouled by Middleton.  Harris missed the first free throw, but the second was true, forcing overtime.  When asked about the play that led to the free throw attempts, assistant coach Bill Bevins said, "The play was drawn up for Tyler to get free on a double screen, but Model double teamed him.  We told Damien if he got it to just get down the floor as quick as possible." 

In overtime, Model looked exhausted mentally and physically as the Eagles scored the first four points of the extra period.  Model managed to tie the game at 61 with 1:30 on the clock, but from there the Eagles blew the game open by scoring nine in a row.  After McGuire and Mike Rothermel hit four free throws in the closing seconds, the Eagles came away with a 71-63 win.

For the game, Southern had three players record double-doubles: Abshear finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds, Harris had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Rothermel finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.  Chris Roberts added 11, McGuire finished with 9, and Spencer Stone scored 1 for the Eagles. 

The Eagles will advance to the District Championship game for the fourth straight year.  Southern will play Madison Central, who sits at 25-1 and ranked #2 in the state, Friday night at EKU at approximately 8:15pm.  The game will be broadcast live at madisonsouthern.ihigh.com   

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