By Eric Clutter | Correspondent
Even though Crestwood and Kent Roosevelt have had a number of close games since the 2005 inception of the Portage Trail Conference, the Red Devils entered Tuesday night having never beaten the Rough Riders.
That is no longer the case.
Rallying from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, Crestwood forced overtime and held off the host Rough Riders in the extra session to claim a 58-54 victory.
"They kept their composure at the end of the game, and that was the difference," said Crestwood coach Al Mielcarek. "We made a great run at the end. Some kids really stepped up."
On the strength of a 17-1 run elapsing the final five minutes of regulation and the first two minutes of overtime, Crestwood looked in good shape with a 54-48 advantage.
But Corey Mitchell, cleared earlier in the day to play after a hard fall in last Friday's loss to Springfield forced the senior to miss the last quarter, drained a pair of 3-pointers within 40 seconds to knot the contest at 54-54.
The deadlock did not last very long, as Jacob Graves (18 points) quickly took the ball to the hole moments later to give the Red Devils a 56-54 lead with 28 seconds showing.
Roosevelt, which fell to 3-6 overall with its fourth straight defeat and 3-3 in Metro action, threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds play, necessitating an immediate foul.
Graves, however, was only able to hit one of his two freebies, keeping it a one-score game.
Mitchell, who led Roosevelt with 13 points, had a pair of chances to re-tie the game but missed twice from 3-point range in the final seconds.
Stuber (13 points) tacked on a free toss with two ticks left to account for the final margin, which sent Crestwood to 6-4 overall.
"It was hectic. They (Roosevelt) hit some great shots," said Mielcarek of the last minute of overtime. "But again, our leadership from our seniors took over at the end. Graves saw the lane to go and took it upon himself. He really wanted it. He's a three-year varsity kid. This is the first time our school has ever beaten Kent in school history. This is a big win for us."
A 13-2 run put Roosevelt ahead 47-37 with five minutes to play. But Graves' conventional three-point play helped start the Crestwood comeback, which Graves himself capped with a short jumper with 1:13 remaining in regulation to tie things at 48-apiece heading to overtime.
"I think we failed to do what we did to get that 10-point lead," said Roosevelt coach Ben Dunlap. "Down four at half, we made the necessary (defensive) rotations and things like that, to turn the deficit into a 10-point lead. I liked the way we were playing, our energy.
"Unfortunately, the game got kind of away from us. They made shots at the end, we didn't."
There were seven lead changes over the first nine minutes of play before Crestwood reeled off eight straight points that helped the Red Devils to a 26-22 advantage at the half.
Roosevelt, which hit a season-high eight 3s, came out strong in the third quarter and led by as many as four points late in the stanza before settling for a 38-35 edge through 24 minutes.
Trevor Sweet had a solid game for Crestwood and finished with 15 points and several blocks.
In addition to Mitchell's 13, Myles Wright and Phillip Grant added 10 and nine points, respectively, off the Roosevelt bench. Joseph Watts chipped in with seven.