GREEN RIVER – The Green River High School Wolves defeated the Evanston Red Devils at home on Thursday in an overtime thriller, 51-49, to begin 4A Southwest Quadrant play.
This was the Wolves’ third game playing in overtime this season, coming away with victories in each contest.
“I like that piece of maturity with the team that we have to be able to pull out those close games. It feels good. However, it wasn’t pretty. It was too close for comfort,” said Green River head coach Laurie Ivie after the game.
The Wolves came out aggressive at the start of the game, beginning on a 6-0 run. Senior forward Dylan Taylor got the game’s first bucket with 5:46 left to play in the opening quarter. That was followed up by a fast break layup by junior guard Caleb Lake and another layup by senior forward Austin Fox.
Green River kept the energy up throughout the first quarter, extending its lead to double digits with about minute remaining when senior guard Jax Peterson drove baseline for a layup to put the Wolves up, 14-4.
With five seconds remaining in the first quarter, Taylor found senior forward Dillon LaRose, who was cutting to the basket for a layup. The Wolves ended the opening frame up by 12 points, 16-4.
“When we opened up, we started great. We talk a lot about wanting to string three stops in a row. I felt like we started that way and the stops were big for us because helps us get something on the other side,” Ivie said.
The Wolves continued their hot start into the second quarter despite the Red Devils finding their own offensive touch. The teams exchanged baskets for most of the second quarter.
In the final possession of the first half, Peterson was open for a 3-pointer on the right side of the court. He missed the shot but Taylor was there to clean glass and put the ball back up for a layup just before the buzzer sounded. The Wolves entered halftime with a 25-15 advantage.
The Red Devils slowly chipped away at their deficit during the third quarter. In the final 60 seconds of the period, Evanston senior guard Noah Conrad caught fire and hit two 3-pointers to bring the Red Devils within five points, down 37-32.
Conrad continued to shoot the ball well into the fourth quarter. He scored eight unanswered points to give the Red Devils a 40-37 lead, which led to Ivie burning a timeout with 6:45 left to play in regulation.
“I told them a couple of things (during the timeout). First of all, we got to close out. He’s coming through an elevator screen. It is ok if you’re guarding the guy setting elevator screen to leave and close out. Kudos to him. He shot the ball well. But defensively, that tells us we didn’t do what we needed to do to put the lock on him. I think we did a better job in the fourth quarter and into overtime. He caught fire there and closed that gap,” she said.
“We weren’t stringing any stops and we just lost focus. When we do focus on those things and we focus on defensive rebounding, we’re really good.”
The Wolves didn’t falter, however. Taylor ended Evanston’s run with a layup coming out of the timeout.
With 1:30 left in the fourth quarter, Lake drove inside for a contested layup and was fouled on the play. Despite the missed free throw, his basket tied the game, 46-46, which would end up being the score going into overtime.
Lake got the Wolves started in the extra period with a layup after driving baseline to put them up 48-46. He later found a cutting Peterson with 42 seconds remaining for an easy layup to put the home team up 50-47.
Conrad converted a layup for the Red Devils to bring them within one point.
Green River junior Kason Ivie sealed the victory for the Wolves with a made free throw with just under two seconds remaining.
Taylor finished with 23 points and Lake had 17 points to lead the Wolves in scoring.
During halftime, military members were honored and recognized for their service. The crowd was decorated in camouflage to pay tribute to them.
“This night is a big deal for us in our community, our school and our team,” Ivie said. “To have a big crowd like that in the student section, it definitely helps us out. It helps create momentum, so that was fun and was a big factor for us in the end.”