New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher, Yogi Berra, famously said, “it ain’t over till it’s over!”
Never was that more apparent than during the Newton Rams' pulsating 66-60 overtime victory on the road against the Morrow Mustangs in a Region 2-AAAAAA tilt Tuesday.
With 2:44 left in the game, Morrow had a seemingly safe 12-point lead. The Mustangs led 40-35 after three quarters, and had outscored the Rams 14-7 in the fourth to lead 54-42.
That’s when Rams senior guard Jalen Glover took over.
In the space of one minute, Glover hit three consecutive three-point shots. Fellow senior and back-up point guard Caylen Gooch hit another three-pointer, and the Rams had tied the Mustangs at 54.
Both teams traded fouls and foul shots – Morrow hitting two, the Rams one – and then Morrow’s Alex Winkfield stole an errant Rams pass, raced the length of the floor and laid the ball in for a 58-55 lead with 13.5 second left.
Glover, however, was not to be denied. Getting the ball on the left wing, Glover, with three Mustang defenders draped around him, heaved a 24-foot prayer that was answered to tie the game at 58 with 3.4 seconds left.
In the overtime, it was all Newton, as junior guard D.J. Hill scored seven points. Gooch added a foul shot and the Rams won 66-60. Glover had a game-high 21 points, matching Morrow’s DeMarkus Loman.
Newton coach Rick Rasmussen said the main thing is the team never gave up.
“It was a big win on the road – on the road in our region,” said Rasmussen. “Any win on the road is important. Lovejoy (High School) is our only loss, and they came in here and won in overtime, and so did we. We showed a lot of heart and it made us a better team.”
Few would have predicted the Rams (7-1, 2-1) coming back, as they were at a decided height disadvantage against the Mustangs. Both teams shot well below 50 percent, and turnovers were a problem: Newton had five and Morrow 10 in the first two quarters, leaving the Mustangs with a slim 29-26 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the biggest play was a monster alley-oop dunk by Morrow’s Winkfield. But stingy defense by the Rams kept them within five points entering the final quarter.
All of Newton’s seven points in the first 5:16 of the fourth quarter came from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, the Mustangs (6-7, 1-2) scored seven baskets for the 54-42 lead before Glover went off.
Hill finished with 15 points for Newton, including seven in overtime.