Panthers fall to Mustangs in season-opener in OT, 79-70

By Robert Stegbauer -

The Lynchburg-Clay boys basketball team started the season in the best way possible; a win in overtime.

The Mustangs opened up their season at home against Miami Trace, a member of the South Central Ohio League and after four quarters and an extra four minutes for overtime, walked into the locker room with 79-70 win under their belts.

After the first quarter, Miami Trace had edged out the Mustangs by three points, 17-14. Both teams looked to be getting their feet under them and it was back and forth the entire eight minutes of the quarter.

In the second quarter, Lynchburg seemed to find themselves a bit and went ahead 35-34 at the half.

At the start of the third quarter, the back-and-forth continued as the Panthers and the Mustangs traded basket for basket for the first half of the quarter. Lynchburg managed to pull just a bit further ahead, and by four instead of two thanks to a clutch put back by Eric McLaughlin with just 1.5 seconds left on the clock. The Mustangs had a 51-47 lead going into the final frame.

McLaughlin picked up where he left off in the third, scoring the five five points of the quarter with a three pointer just 14 seconds in, and two pointer one minute later. Miami Trace was finally able to answer with a two of their own with 6:21 left. The two teams traded baskets again and at 4:49 left in the ball game, the score was 60-52 in favor of the Mustangs.

At this point in the game, the Panthers decided to make a run of their own. Trace popped off four straight baskets, two of them from behind the arc, and with 1:54 left in the game, Trace had taken back the lead 62-60.

Lynchburg was fouled on their next two possessions but were only able to make one of the four attempts and the score was 62-61 with 1:25 left.

Neither team in the final minute would nudge to the other, and their was hard-nosed defense on both sides of the floor. As timed ticked down, Joe Giordano took a three pointer with just around ten seconds left to try and get his team the lead. He missed the shot but was able to get his own rebound and took the ball right back up to the basket. In a controversial call, Giordano was called for a charge, and Miami Trace was sent to the line to shoot free throws. The Panthers were able to make both of the free shots and with just 9.1 seconds left on the clock, Miami Trace had a 64-61 lead.

The Mustangs took the ball out of bounds and Giordano took the ball up the floor and went to drive. He decided against it but while dribbling backwards, lost his footing and fell backwards. Coach Matt Carson was able to get a timeout called before a turnover happened, but the Mustangs were down to just two seconds remaining.

The ball was in bounded after the timeout and found its way into the hands of River Mullins. Mullins had two Miami Trace players in his face and with no where to pass and no time to do so anyways, heaved up what could already be the shot of the year from eight feet behind the three point line. The ball sailed through the air, hit perfectly in the middle of the square on the backboard and banked in for a three-pointer, tying the game at 64-64 as time expired, taking the Mustangs into an extra four minutes in their season opener.

Mullins picked up right where he left off at the end of regulation, draining a three-pointer just seconds into the overtime period and it was mostly Mustangs in the final frame as they outscored the Panthers 15-6 in the final four minutes of play to win their season opener with a final of 79-70.

“Let’s make no mistake, Miami Trace is a really good basketball team that is very athletic,” Lynchburg-Clay head coach Matt Carson said. “We knew that coming in. We just have to make sure, going forward, that we don’t make as many forced errors.”

Miami Trace opens play in the South Central Ohio League tonight at East Clinton with the freshman game starting at 4:45 p.m.


LC 14 21 16 13 15 — 79

MT 17 17 13 17 6 — 70

LYNCHBURG-CLAY — Eric McLaughlin 4 (4)-2-22; Devin Pierson 3 (2)-4-16; Zach Blankenship 2 (1)-8-15; River Mullins 1 (2)-3-11; Josh Arhmann 4-0-8;Joe Giordano 2-0-4; Christian Inman 0 (1)-0-3. TOTALS — 16 (10)-17-79. Free throw shooting: 17 of 20 for 85 percent. Combined field goal shooting: 26 of 65 for 40 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 10 of 27 for 37 percent. Three-point field goals: McLaughlin, 4; Pierson, 2; Mullins, 2; Blankenship, Inman. Rebounds: 32 (12 offensive). Assists: 12. Steals: 10. Blocks: 1. Turnovers: 21. Points off turnovers: 12.

MIAMI TRACE — Tyrae Pettiford 9 (1)-3-24; DeAndre Pettiford 3 (1)-5-14; Darby Tyree 5-0-10; Blake Pittser 1 (2)-2-10; Cameron Carter 1 (1)-0-5; Mitchell Creamer 1-1-3; Seth Leach 1-0-2; Jacob Batson 0-2-2; Skyler McDonald 0-0-0; Brad Card 0-0-0; Keondrick Bryant 0-0-0. TOTALS — 21 (5)-13-70. Free throw shooting: 13 of 18 for 72 percent. Combined field goal shooting: 26 of 62 for 41 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 24 for 21 percent. Three-point field goals: Pittser, 2; T. Pettiford, D. Pettiford, Carter. Rebounds: 38 (14 offensive); T. Pettiford, 9; Tyree, 8; D. Pettiford, 6; Creamer, 6. Turnovers: 26. Assists: 10. Steals: 11. Blocks: 1. Points off turnovers: 7.

By Robert Stegbauer

Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.

Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.