Loreto Morelli scored seven of his 16 points in overtime, and the South Wasco County Redsides rode a 7-for-9 free throw shooting effort as part of a 16-11 extra session run in a 79-74 road triumph over Lyle-Wishram Tuesday in Lyle, Wash.
Although just December, SWC head coach Jim Hull liked the moxie his team showed when in a pressure game against a solid program.
“They responded with poise and they are showing their age,” Hull said. “I think that is the biggest key, because sometimes they were down four or five (points) and they never get down. They are always on the floor hustling as hard as they can. They are showing poise under pressure and they are shooting the ball confidently. As a coach, you cannot ask for more than that.”
At one point in overtime, the Redsides looked up at a four-point deficit, but did not wilt.
Late in action and SWC up by one point, Nathan Duling sank a pair of free throws.
Lyle scored on its next possession, but on the Redsides’ next time with the ball, Morelli drained a 3-pointer to give his squad a one-point advantage.
Lyle misfired on its next attempt, and Morelli answered on his next shot with a turn-around jumper to lead 77-74.
After a Lyle turnover, SWC senior David Ocacio, calmly drained two of his charity shots to seal the win.
Hull also mentioned that Ellis Rager added a key rebound and a steal in the final overtime.
In overtime, SWC hit on 7 of 9 free throws, and the team overcame 25 fouls, including four fouls apiece in overtime from Colton Nannini, Duling, Travis Hayes and Morelli.
The foul difficulties are nothing to get worried about, Hull warns, as his team will continue to adapt its game.
“What I want right now is for them to maintain this aggressive style of play,” Hull said. “If we are going to do that, we need to play without limits. We need to take chances. My goal is to keep up our defensive intensity. They did better tonight already and that is even playing in overtime at an intense, man, full-court defense from sideline-to-sideline.”
Both teams battled out to a 29-29 halftime tie, and the Redsides came out with a 19-17 push to lead 48-46 entering the final quarter.
Ocacio led all scorers with a season-high 43 points on 13-24 from field, including 4-6 from long range.
He added an 11 of 15 split from the free throw line. The senior guard tacked on four assists and three rebounds.
Morelli had 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals, and Duling check in with four points, four rebounds, four steals and four assists.
Hayes 14 points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists, and Devan Dammann added seven points off the bench.
“Our offense is going to come along,” Hull said. “We have a group that is capable of scoring at any time. We can be dangerous if we can get all of them on their game at the same time. We want to continue to improve. We have a long ways to go, but we are headed in the right direction.”
SWC (1-1 overall) hosts Portland Lutheran at 7:30 p.m. Friday.