Boys Basketball: Davis, Overland outlast Cherokee Trail in unreal five-overtime contest

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The scoreboard shows Overland’s 111-107 Centennial League boys basketball victory over Cherokee Trail that took five overtimes to decide on Jan. 10, 2014, at Cherokee Trail High School. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | Unbelievable.

That’s about the most accurate way to describe Friday night’s Centennial League battle between Overland and Cherokee Trail, an epic contest that defied logic, left heads shaking in disbelief and took 20 extra minutes — close to a full extra game — to decide.

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Overland sophomore De’Ron Davis, right, chest bumps sophomore Jervae Robinson (1) after the Trailblazers’ 111-107 Centennial League boys basketball victory in five overtimes on Jan. 10, 2014, at Cherokee Trail High School. Davis finished a school record 46 points along with 21 rebounds. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

In the end, the Trailblazers outlasted the Cougars 111-107 in a game that was as memorable for its length and improbable sequences as it was for the 46 points poured in by Overland sophomore phenom De’Ron Davis.

The 6-foot-9 Davis made 17 field goals and shot 12-for-16 from the free throw line to lead five players in double figures for the Trailblazers, who improved to 8-3 overall and 2-0 in Centennial League play.

Both sides gained a lot of respect for each other in the game, which was clean from start to finish and featured a lot of “cat and mouse stuff” between the coaching staffs according to Cherokee Trail’s Morgan Gregory.

“I tip my hat to CT, they gave us a run for our money; unfortunately, somebody had to lose that game,” said Overland senior guard Austin Conway, who added 18 points.

“We’ll play until 12 at night until somebody’s losing.”

That would have required playing another hour and a half, but the Trailblazers made sure the 2 1/2-hour roller-coaster ride didn’t stretch until midnight by scoring the first nine points of the fifth overtime and finally holding off the Cougars (4-7, 1-1), who still managed to get within two points with 8 seconds left.

Coach Danny Fisher’s Overland team showed the depth that’s one of the reasons why its ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press’ Class 5A poll, but the story inside the story was the night of Davis. In addition to 21 rebounds, many vital on the offensive glass, he set a school record for points in a single game and nearly matched Rangeview’s Reggie Evans — who scored 47 in a 2008 5A playoff game — as the top individual scoring performance for a city player in recent history.

Like most players, Davis was completely exhausted when the game was through, especially considering he faced double-, triple- and even quadruple-teaming all night from a smaller Cherokee Trail team that had to pull out all the stops against him.

“That was too crazy, four, five overtimes; people’s legs were dead, it was just crazy,” Davis said. “Honestly, I’m pretty tired and as a team, we’re tired, but I’m just thankful that we pushed through and got the W. …It was a good night for me, but I think the main part was we played team basketball and that’s how we came out with the victory.”

Joining Davis and Conway in double figures was senior T’Aren Williams with 12 points, senior Tre Thomas with 11 and sophomore Reggie Gibson with 10 — all in the overtime periods — for Overland.

Senior Tyler Larkin tallied 17 points from the free throw line — including a 3-for-3 trip in the final seconds of the second overtime extend the game — on his way to 31 in the game for Cherokee Trail, which also got a combined 48 points from sophomores Ronnie Barfield (27) and David Thornton (21), before both fouled out.

Both teams just kept coming, no matter who was on the floor.

Overland and Cherokee Trail — which meet again at Overland on Feb. 5 — combined for 218 points in a game that was tied 14 times.

According to the records kept by the Colorado High School Activities Association at CHSAANow.com — which were last updated in August of 2012 — Overland and Cherokee Trail produced the third five-overtime game in state history, but the first between teams in the largest classification in the state.

The last came in 1997 when Basalt and Steamboat Springs went the same distance, which Salida and Brush also did in 1964. Only two games went longer and both were also involving small schools: the seven-overtime marathon between Brush and Holyoke on Jan. 5, 1979 and Custer County’s six-OT battle with Leadville in 1927.

The 218 combined points ranks No. 3 on the all-time list behind the 242 put up by Bear Creek and Poudre in 1972-73 and the Antonito-Sierra Grande total of 225 in 1991. Cherokee Trail’s 107 points matches Niwot (1988-89 vs. Thompson Valley) for most points scored in a defeat.

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Cherokee Trail sophomore Ronnie Barfield (15) tries to catch his breath late during the Cougars’ 111-107 loss to Overland in five overtimes on Jan. 10, 2014. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

“It was a great night for high school basketball and the Centennial League,” Gregory said. “Not only was it a great game, but both teams conducted themselves the right way. It was just two teams playing really hard and respecting each other.”

In the interest of brevity, a short breakdown of each four-minute overtime period, which began after Larkin made his three free throws and Conway’s last-second shot missed:

First overtime: Overland took the early lead on Gibson’s layup, but freshman Jaizec Lottie — who was instrumental in the Cougars’ second-half rally — forged the first of four ties in the period. Cherokee Trail led by two points three times, but Overland answered each time, including Davis’ layup in traffic just before the buzzer to tie it at 76-76.

Second overtime: The lead changed hands several times and the Trailblazers had a three-point edge with 7 seconds left on Williams’ two free throws. Gregory expected Overland to foul in the backcourt to give Cherokee Trail two free throws, but instead let the ball get upcourt, where Larkin was fouled by Tyler Stevenson and made three free throws to knot the game at 89 apiece.

Third overtime: Each team scored just four points and the Cougars had a chance to win late. Senior Kameron Brandon, who converted a three-point play to tie the score, had two free throw attempts with 1:21 left, but missed both. Overland milked the clock down inside of 10 seconds, but Williams missed the final shot to send it to a fourth overtime tied at 93-93.

Fourth overtime: Both teams were gassed and held the ball for long stretches, which led to a combined total of four points. Larkin’s layup gave Cherokee Trail a two-point lead, but Conway’s tip-in with 2:15 left made it 95-95, where it would end. Williams’ three-quarters court pray at the buzzer hit rim.

Fifth overtime: Overland sophomore Jervae Robinson hadn’t scored since the third quarter, but drained a 3-pointer on the first possession to get the ‘Blazers off and running. A Davis block and Williams steal led to consecutive Conway layups and then Davis had the most memorable play of the game with a one-hand dunk off a lob from Gibson to make it 104-96. Larkin hit a pair of 3-pointers and Dillon Garcia knocked one down to make it 109-107 with 8 seconds remaining, but Gibson swished two free throws to seal it.

Fisher was understandably pleased with the maturity his team showed in fighting through to the end.

“Games like this are milestones; if we plan on having a successful season, wins like this are big,” said Fisher, adding that he “hates this building” in reference to Cherokee Trail, where his team lost at the buzzer last season. “That was excellent to get that game against them. They had five guards out there trying to cover De’Ron. …They played so tough, I’m pretty impressed.”

The game also might have marked a milestone for Cherokee Trail, which Gregory thought turned a corner over winter break with several days to practice and with the return of sparkplug Izaiah Lottie, who missed several games with a broken thumb from football season.

More good news for the Cougars includes the return of senior Evan White, a University of Colorado-bound football player who recently decided to join the team and should add toughness in the interior, which is exactly what Cherokee Trail needed.

Though he said he’d just played the “longest game of my life” and was totally dead, Larkin looked forward to the next time the teams will meet.

“Our young guys have been stepping up a lot this year, we keep expecting to develop and keep improving,” he said. “We’ll see them again and it will be a good game again.”

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel

(9) Overland 111, Cherokee Trail 107 (5OT)

Score by quarters:

Overland      17   11  21  17  10  13  4  2  16 — 111

Cher. Trail   10  18  14  24  10  13  4  2  12 — 107

OVERLAND (111)

Jervae Robinson 3 0-0 7, T’Aren Williams 3 5-6 12, Austin Conway 8 2-3 18, De’Ron Davis 17 12-16 46, King Grant-Perry 1 0-0 2, Tre Thomas 4 3-4 11, Tyler Stevenson 0 3-4 3, Ryan Swan 1 0-0 2, Reggie Gibson 3 3-4 10. Totals 40 28-37 111.

CHEROKEE TRAIL (107)

Kam Brandon 2 1-3 5, Tyler Larkin 6 17-19 31, David Thornton 8 3-6 21, Ronnie Barfield 11 5-6 27, Izaiah Lottie 5 0-0 10, Jaizec Lottie 2 6-6 10, Dillon Garcia 1 0-0 3. Totals 35 32-40 107.

3-point field goals — Overland (3): Reggie Gibson, Jervae Robinson, T’Aren Williams; Cherokee Trail (5): Tyler Larkin 2, David Thornton 2, Dillon Garcia. Total fouls — Overland 27, Cherokee Trail 24. Fouled outCherokee Trail: Ronnie Barfield, Thornton. Technical fouls — None.