With four seconds on the clock in overtime, down 62-61 to Jackson County rivals Medora, Crothersville senior Eli Mollett caught a pass from half court, turned and was fouled from the 3-point line with less than a tick on the clock.
Mollet hit the first, missed the second and recollected himself.
He then drained the final free throw to secure the Tigers’ first win of the season.
“Eli’s our best player, and that’s who we wanted at the line in that situation,” Tigers coach Greg Kilgore said. “We knew he could get at least two of them and he came up in the clutch.”
It was a wild game up until the final shots by Mollett.
Trailing 61-59, Medora’s Brandon Moore collected an offensive rebound, stepped back and drilled a 3-pointer to give the Hornets a lead before the final play by the Tigers in extra minutes.
In the first quarter, the Tigers took an early 7-2 lead capped by a 3-pointer by senior Micah Mains.
At the first quarter buzzer, Medora’s Jalen Beesley sank a runner in the lane to narrow the deficit to 17-14.
The game was physical early, as Crothersville tallied eight fouls by the 6:53-mark in the second quarter.
At intermission, the Tigers maintained a 26-23 lead.
The Hornets took the lead for the first time, at 40-39, on a field goal by Beesley.
After trading the lead three more times, the Hornets were up 45-43 after 24 minutes of play.
Neither team could distances themselves in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers’ Codi McDonald hit a free throw to tie the game at 56-all with 11 seconds left in regulation.
Medora had a chance at the line, but couldn’t convert before going into overtime.
“The whole game was back-and-forth, I don’t think that anyone had control of that game,” Hornets coach Michael Leitzman said. “It was anyone’s for the taking the whole game. That’s back-to-back game now where we had a chance to win and couldn’t close out. I know we’re good enough to close these games out. This game, we just missed easy layups and it came down to free throws.”
The Hornets finished 16-41 and Crothersville was 23-35 from the free throw line.
Both Beesley and Mollett led their teams with 24 points each.
Kam Flynn and Chase Booker each had 10 for the Hornets (0-2).
“We talked all week that Medora was a pretty good team, and we’d have our hands full,” Kilgore said. “I thought, defensively, we did a good job of slowing down Kam Flynn. There aren’t many teams that will hold Kam to 10 points. If we let him score 15 or 16 points we would have lost this game.”
The Tigers’ Conner O’Sullivan recorded 12 points and Mains had 11.
Crothersville (1-2) won the battle of the boards with 41 rebounds to the Hornets’ 26.
“Today, I just think it was confidence,” Leitzman said. “The free throws were contagious. We had good leadership and executed down the stretch. We just had a mental lapse on that last play. We’ll learn from tonight.”