Dragons win OT thriller over Corry to lock up 2nd place in Region 6
Payton Barnes scored all seven of Warren’s points in overtime as the Dragons secured the No. 2 seed from Region 6 with a 63-61 win over visiting Corry Tuesday.
Barnes had just two points in the first half
“This feels amazing,” Barnes said.
“The kids executed in the overtime,” Warren coach Jeff Berdine said. “That hasn’t been our strong suit. I’m proud of Payton, proud of the kids.”
Warren (14-8 overall, 7-5 Region 6) dominated most of the game’s first 10 minutes. The Dragons led 18-9 after the first quarter and 22-14 following a second-quarter sequence that began with an authoritative Thomas Bablak block and ended with a Ben Berdine bucket. From that point, Corry (15-7, 7-5) went on a 17-3 run to take a 31-25 lead with 2:37 to play in the half. Late buckets from Bablak and Drew Swanson closed the gap to just three, 33-30, at the half.
“We didn’t do a good job in the second quarter,” Jeff Berdine said. “We started well, but didn’t find (Logan) Joncas and he got hot. Offensively, we got stagnant. We had the right shot, but the wrong guy taking it.”
Joncas had 11 of his game-high 20 points in the second quarter.
The second half showed just how evenly matched these two teams are. There were six ties and nine lead changes through the final 16 minutes of regulation.
Corry closed the third quarter with a field goal and free throw to take a 47-45 lead into the fourth.
Mitch Grosch opened the fourth quarter with a pair of layups to give Warren the lead with 7:11 left in the frame. Corry would tie the game five more times through the end of regulation and overtime but never led again.
Bablak hit a field goal with 2:25 to go in regulation to put the Dragons on top, 56-54. Both he and Tyler Gustafson went to the free-throw line for 1-and-1 opportunities but missed the front end each time.
Reagan James sunk both of his free throws with 24.8 seconds left to send the game to OT.
Barnes opened the extra frame with a 3-pointer. James went 1-2 from the line on the other end and Barnes came back and buried a field goal to put Warren up 61-57 with 2:20 to play.
“You’ve got to play defense,” Barnes said. “If you play good defense, you’ll create shots.”
Lucas Nichols and Joncas each made a shot to tie it at 6-1 with 1:40 to go.
Warren brought the ball past half court and Corry allowed Ryan Rafalski to dribble out most of the remaining time. The Dragons took a timeout with 17 seconds left. Once Warren put the ball in play, Ben Berdine found Barnes in the low post. Barnes made a move to the high side and was fouled while hitting a short hook shot. He missed the free throw, but Corry only got one desperation shot off to end the game.
“That was matchup basketball,” Jeff Berdine said. “We liked the matchup we had with Payton. That last play is one of our bread and butter plays. We usually run it to Tom or Ben, but we liked the matchup with Payton.”
Joncas was one of three Beavers in double figures. James finished with 13 points and Nichols added 10.
Barnes and Berdine finished with 17 each for the Dragons. Berdine also had seven rebounds and seven assists. Bablak had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Harbor Creek’s win over Oil City secured the Region 6 title for the Huskies. Warren gets the second seed with tiebreakers over Corry and Titusville. Both Harbor Creek and Warren will have first-round byes in the District 10 playoffs.
“We said when we went up there we wanted to make them come here and play with something on the line,” Jeff Berdine said.
The Dragons will play the winner of Friday’s first-round matchup between Conneaut and Oil City. The quarterfinal game will be played Thursday, Feb. 20 at a time and location to be determined.
Warren won the junior varsity contest, 44-26.
Parks Ordiway and Bryce Blair each had 10 points in the win, while JT Blum added nine.