By Dave Wagner
FLOYD — Not that he would have expected overtime, but Floyd boys basketball coach Jeff Gillespie figured his team wouldn’t run away from Dora in Tuesday’s District 3-1A first-round tournament matchup.
After all, the Broncos had split in the regular season with three of the other four teams in the district, and had their hands full with Elida despite winning both games.
Still, the Broncos needed some late heroics to erase a six-point deficit in the final minute of regulation before pulling out a 55-50 win in OT against the Coyotes.
Floyd (16-11), seeded third in the tournament, advances to a semifinal game at 6 p.m. Thursday at second-seeded Fort Sumner (18-9), which needed some last-minute heroics of its own to get past Elida 52-49.
“They match up well with us,” Gillespie said of the Coyotes (7-20). “Everybody matches up with us. I guess we’re just an easy match-up.”
Junior guard Jerrod Long scored 19 of Floyd’s first 24 points and finished with 30, but the Broncos found themselves down 45-39 when Dora’s Tyler Wilhoit was called for a charging foul with 1:21 left.
Long then buried a 3-pointer from the key with 57 seconds to go, then was fouled on a 3-point attempt after Dora turned it over in backcourt. He missed the first shot, then made the next two before another backcourt turnover led to a basket by Bryan Johnson.
Dora’s Brent Hays tied it on a free throw with 9.5 seconds left. But Floyd’s Brad Lee scored six of his eight points in the OT, and the Coyotes were limited to four free throws.
“Lee hurt us,” Dora coach Ty Thatcher said. “He’s not a super basketball player, but he’s a good athlete and he made some athletic plays.
“We had two or three turnovers at a critical point in the game. I felt we were in the right sets; we just made some poor decisions.”
Floyd scored nine consecutive points late in the half to open a 10-point lead, but Dora responded with a 14-0 charge over a six-minute span beginning just before halftime. The Coyotes didn’t score a field goal in the final 4:50 of regulation or in the overtime.
Wilhoit scored 17 points for the Coyotes, and junior Brent Hays finished with 10.
“I was proud of the way we played tonight,” said Thatcher, who led the Coyotes to a Class 1A state title in 2003. “Our season came down to a minute or two in games where we lost our composure and didn’t finish games.”
Gillespie was happy to survive and advance.
“I guess we should’ve pressed them the whole game,” he mused. “Basketball is a long season, but when you get to this point it doesn’t matter.”
Elida-Fort Sumner — Junior Jeremy Gauna scored on a drive with 40 seconds left to put Fort Sumner in front for good after Elida (11-13) led 47-42 with under 3 1/2 minutes left.
The Tigers turned the ball twice in the remaining time, and the Foxes (18-9) converted 2-of-4 free throws to seal the deal.
“We played phenomenal,” Elida coach Darrell Chenault said of his mostly freshman-sophomore squad. “I’m very proud of them.”
Gauna, Fort Sumner’s leading scorer, was held to nine points, primarily by the defensive work of Elida senior Dylan Radcliff. “Dylan just played really well on him,” Chenault said.
Senior post Tim Segura led all scorers with 17 points for Fort Sumner. Radcliff led the Tigers with 12 point, and freshman Wesley Gilmore added 11.
District 3-1A Tournament
Floyd 55, Dora 50
Dora (7-20) — Travis B elcher 8, Tyler Wilhoit 17, J.R. Gonzales 9, Casey O’Connor 5, Brent Hays 10, Austin Prewett 1. Totals 18 13-20 50.
Floyd (16-11) — Jason Martinez 3, Kyle Kropf 6, Jonathan Mitchell 1, Bryan Johnson 7, Jerrod Long 30, Brad Lee 8. Totals 21 8-14 55.
Dora 12 9 17 8 4 — 50
Floyd 14 15 5 12 9 — 55
3-pointers — Dora (1): Hays. Floyd (5): Kropf 2, Long 2, Martinez.
Fort Sumner 52, Elida 49
Elida (11-13) — Dylan Radcliff 12, Thomas West 4, Tom Sullivan 7, Trenton Chenault 8, Wesley Gilmore 11, Caleb Widener 7. Totals 20 7-11 49.
Fort Sumner (18-9) — Jeremy Gauna 9, Brenton Williamson 2, Byron Wilson 3, Ross Cortese 2, Derek Dimitroff 3, Matt Sena 2, Richard Canales 7, Tim Segura 17, Ryan Fikany 7. Totals 19 14-23 52.
Elida 11 10 15 13 — 49
Fort Sumner 11 13 10 18 — 52
3-pointers — Elida (2): Gilmore, Sullivan. Fort Sumner: none.