Buzzer-beater saves GMG in OT
GARWIN – For the second time this season, GMG junior Brock Fisher had the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
And just like he did against Janesville, Fisher buried a game-winning shot as time expired to help his Wolverines survive a tough test from East Marshall.
Fisher finished with 12 points and the Wolverines won 65-63 in overtime Monday night.
“We wanted to get the ball into (Luke Petty’s) hands because he is our best free-throw shooter, but Luke did the right thing and gave it up,” GMG coach Dean Aldrich said. “Eventually, (Fisher) came open and he hit the shot.”
The 3-pointer he hit against Janesville was in double overtime. Monday’s game-winner helped improve the Wolverines to 11-8 on the season. The Mustangs, who trailed by as many as nine in the first half, dropped to 3-16.
“We worked our butts off defensively to get back into the game, but we just gave them too easy of a look there at the end,” East Marshall coach Cole Anderson said.
The Mustangs hung around on the road because they buried 10 3-pointers. Mitch Berry had five of them and finished with a game-high 25 points. Walker Steward buried three triples and added 19 points in the loss.
“That is what we have to do to be successful because we don’t have the height to match up with most teams inside,” Anderson said. “We have to make 3-pointers and that kept us in the game tonight.”
The Wolverines controlled the first half, leading by nine after one and then grabbing a three-point advantage at halftime. East Marshall used a full-court press to take its first lead with 6:26 to go in the third quarter. And from there, the two teams battled point-for-point.
“We had too many turnovers, and we missed too many free throws tonight,” Aldrich said. “We dribble too much. We just need to pass the ball and I think we cut down on our mistakes.”
The game went into overtime thanks to a putback by Josh Wilson with 3 seconds to play. A missed 3-pointer with 4 seconds to go was well short of the hoop but Wilson flew into the lane, snatched the ball out of the air and put it back in just before the final horn. Wilson scored nine for the Mustangs.
“I didn’t expect it to go like that,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t a pass. We were trying to get the ball to Ben (Terrones), but he was covered up pretty well on the outside.”
Terrones was one of the priorities for the Wolverines. GMG (11-8) wanted to contain the shooters, but Terrones took himself out of the game early with fouls. He scored just five points in the loss but was valuable on defense, forcing turnovers and helping his team get easy buckets.
While East Marshall was canning 10 triples from outside, GMG was pounding the ball inside and taking advantage of its height. If the ball wasn’t being passed into the 6-foot-4 Blake Warren, it was being dribbled to the basket by Petty and Fisher. Warren finished with 14 points, while Petty had a team-high 20. Chad Plaehn was the fourth GMG player to reach double-figures as he finished with 13.
The inside presence of the Wolverines allowed them to have a huge advantage from the foul line. GMG hit 13-of-25 from the charity stripe, while East Marshall took just six shots and made half.
“We knew they would take a lot of 3s, and they made as many 3-pointers as we may have taken all season,” Aldrich said. “We do not want to take shots from out there. We challenged them at halftime to get to the line more and we were able to do that.”
GMG had a four-point lead with 1 minute to go in regulation and also led by five with less than 40 seconds to play in overtime, but East Marshall never quit. Berry canned a 3 with 18 seconds to play in overtime and then Steward got a steal on the press and then converted the layup with 10 ticks on the clock.
The Wolverines have played in a lot of close games all season. They were never rattled with the game on the line and found a way to win – thanks to Fisher’s game-winning jumper – despite a big challenge from the Mustangs.
“They are used to playing in close games,” Aldrich said. “They didn’t get too nervous. They didn’t get too rattled. It was a good effort down the stretch.”
East Marshall returns to the court tonight to face BCLUW in Conrad at 7:45 p.m. The Wolverines will host the Comets in Garwin on Friday beginning at 8 p.m.