The opening game of the 10th Moody Invitational Basketball Tournament went down to the wire as Charlotte's Olympic High rallied past Chester 60-59 on Saturday.
Olympic rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half and picked up the victory despite a horrid night at the free throw line.
The Trojans made just 6 of 19 from the line, but their final miss may have saved them the game. Sharpshooter Reggie Arceneaux stepped to the line with the score knotted at 56 and half a minute remaining in the game.
Arceneaux missed both shots, but teammate Darius Carrier picked up an offensive rebound and tipped in the go-ahead points.
Chester had a shot to tie but missed a contested layup on the other end of the court.
Olympic took the rebound and quickly advanced the ball up the court and Sean Anthony drove baseline for two points, extending the lead to two possessions.
With the game's outcome decided, Cyclones guard Tony McNeil heaved a desperation shot from 65 feet away that sailed through the net and made the final margin a single digit.
Neither team gained control in the first half. Olympic scored eight consecutive points in the first quarter, but Chester answered with ten straight points.
The lead changed hands seven times during the second period before Chester scored the last seven points of the half to take a three-point lead into the locker room.
The Cyclones made an 11-1 run in the third period to go ahead 40-30 before Olympic began chipping away at the deficit.
McNeil led all scorers with 19 points and was one of four Cyclones finishing in double figures in the losing effort.
Carrier added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Olympic.
Olympic advances to face Great Falls at 5 p.m. Monday while Chester slips into the consolation round where it will take on Independence of Charlotte.
• NORTHWESTERN 52, KENNEDY CHARTER 48 -- Kennedy Charter nearly played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, coming close to knocking off host Northwestern in the opening round. The Trojans fell behind a dozen points in the third period before eventually pulling out the win.
Drayton Wade had two huge buckets in the comeback. The first came with 2:35 remaining when he drained a 3-pointer. Northwestern later rebounded a Chris Belton free throw after Kennedy Charter fouled Belton on a made bucket.
Wade also tied the game at 47 with a driving layup with 42 seconds remaining. The tie was the first time the Trojans evened the score since the first quarter.
Kennedy's Raheen Chisholm hit three of four free throws in the final minute, but the Trojans finally found enough offense to pick up the win.
Cordarrelle Patterson put Northwestern up for good when Wade found Patterson across the lane for an easy layup. Labris Adams then put the game away by hitting three free throws.
The Trojans battled foul trouble early and fell behind as they could not get any offensive momentum.
Northwestern's defense shut down the Eagles in the second half. Kennedy went 10 minutes without a made field goal, keeping the struggling Trojans within striking distance.
The Eagles' only points of the third period came at the foul line.
The game was closely contested early, Kennedy had a 19-18 lead lead before a 14-4 run put the Eagles up 11 at the break.
Belton led the Trojans with 16 points and Patterson chipped in with 13. Chisholm netted 16 points for the Eagles in the losing effort.
"We knew there was no easy draw in this tournament," Northwestern coach Mike Gossett said. "We are really having a tough time scoring, but a win is a win and we are happy to advance. Defensively, we are playing well, but we have to find ways to score when we get the ball around the rim."
Northwestern plays in the nightcap on Monday against Midland Valley.
• GREAT FALLS 57, INDEPENDENCE 34 -- Solid rebounding and defensive play paved the way for a Red Devils victory over Independence of Charlotte.
The Red Devils' defense constantly frustrated the Patriots into errant shot attempts. Independence on mustered 11 points in the second and 10 in the third.
The rebounding dominance, particularly with the offensive boards, allowed Great Falls to build a comfortable third-quarter cushion.
Great Falls, 5-1 overall, led 27-19 at the half, and converted three offensive rebounds during a 19-10 run which provided a 46-29 advantage after three quarters.
Independence did score the first two of the fourth quarter, but would get no closer. Nate Nelson drove the lane and gave Great Falls momentum with a crowd-pleasing dunk, triggering a 10-3 spurt to put the game out of reach.
Red Devils' coach John Smith said defense and rebounding were crucial, considering his team's offensive rhythm was not in sync.
"Both teams were struggling offensively today in the half-court set. Defensively, we did a good job of keeping them to only one shot and that was usually the shot that we wanted them to take," Smith said.
"Our offensive rebounding was the difference in the game."
Torrey Craig led a balanced Red Devil attack with 13 points and guard Leroy Roseboro followed with eight.
Independence, which falls to 2-9, got 10 from Keegan Bowen.
• MIDLAND VALLEY 66, LEWISVILLE 56 -- With the game tied at 33, the Lewisville Lions were holding their own against Midland Valley midway through three quarters.
But that's when Lions forward Datron Brice, a key interior defender, was whistled for his fourth foul.
That, according to Lewisville coach Tony Busby, is when the Lions lost their defensive aggressiveness and allowed the Mustangs to gain momentum for a 66-56 victory.
"That was a turning point defensively," Busby said. "As you can see, we are not that big defensively and Datron is one of the biggest players we have on the inside."
Midland Valley, 5-6 overall, reeled off eight unanswered points and never again relinquished the lead.
Guard Jonathan Bryan converted a layup after a steal to pull the Lions within 46-44 early in the fourth. However, that would be as close the Lions would get. Guard Vince Shaw drove the lane for a running layup for a 54-47 Mustangs lead, which eventually grew to 10 when center Byron Coleman converted off the offensive board.
Busby said the contest revealed several bright spots, but pointed to transition defense as the biggest flaw.
"We are not getting back in transition; our 2-3 (zone) was effective, but we gave up too many points in transition."
Brice led the Lions with 18 points and Bryan added 14. Gary Wade netted 15 to pace the Mustangs.