Howland beats LaBrae in OT | News, Sports, Work

Staff Photo / Derek Wilson (12) of Neel Madhavan LaBrae’s shot is blocked by John Perry (34) of Howland on Friday.

LEAVITTSBURG — When the shots aren’t falling, there’s only one thing left to do — keep shooting.

After a cold start in the first half for Howland, Chris Fenton came alive for the Tigers in the second half, hitting eight 3-pointers in total, including seven after halftime, to lead Howland to a 63-61 comeback win over LaBrey in overtime.

“In the first half my legs weren’t under me so I asked my coaches and they just said to keep working on my shot,” Fenton said. “It really helped. I got my legs under me and just kept shooting.”

Like the rest of his Howland teammates, the shots just weren’t coming for Fenton in the first half. He was just 2-for-9 from the floor and the Tigers shot 25.6% overall.

Still, Howland was able to build a two-point lead by the end of the first quarter.

But the Vikings erupted in the second quarter. LaBrae outscored the Tigers 21-10 during the frame and couldn’t seem to miss, getting what it wanted in transition and in the paint.

“I was so angry about our defense in the first half that I wasn’t really focused on the attack,” Howland coach Dan Bubon said. “I knew we missed some shots, but we gave up so many passes. We’re usually very good defensively and it really wasn’t normal to play so badly defensively.”

The Vikings shot 58.3 percent in the second quarter and used their offensive surge to take a 36-27 halftime lead.

LaBrae was led by Jaxson Lancaster, who had seven of his 11 points in that frame for the Vikings.

“We moved the ball a lot better and were able to get some rebounds and push the ball,” LaBrae head coach Chad Kizer said. “They weren’t really setting up their press. We told our guys that if we can get a stop, it’s going to be hard for them to adjust to the press. So I thought we moved the ball really well and spread it around. We had five guys score in that second quarter. We did a good job and I was very pleased with how we finished to close out the half.”

LaBrae was still able to keep Howland at arm’s length in the third quarter and held a five-point lead the rest of the period.

But the Tigers’ shots began to fall, including from beyond the arc. Three different players hit from deep for Howland in the third quarter.

“I thought we closed the third quarter well” Kiser said. “We’re starting to close quarters pretty well, but we have to do a better job of finishing (the game). I think we felt we beat ourselves by a couple of turnovers (late). Credit to them and their pressure to force a few of our average turnovers. But I think we just have to be stronger with the ball.”

Then Fenton came alive in the fourth quarter.

He hit a triple, then another, and another. Fenton hit three straight from beyond the arc on back-to-back possessions to open the fourth that gave Howland its first lead of the game in the first quarter.

“It was great to give us a lot of energy,” Fenton said. “We just came back and my teammates were looking for me and I was able to make shots fall.”

But LaBrae was able to pull himself together. After a 9-0 run by Fenton, the Vikings responded with a 9-0 run of their own to regain the lead. With Howland missing two chances to win the game late in regulation, it was only fitting that the two teams went to overtime to decide things.

Two layup shots by Jay McGarry gave the Vikings the early lead in overtime, but Fenton was there for the answer again for the Tigers, hitting two more 3-pointers that eventually gave Howland its final lead. McGarry led the Vikings with 16 points.

LaBrae had the ball with a chance to tie the game late, but after being fouled in the lane, the Vikings missed both free throws with 0.2 seconds left.

“It’s a week into the season and we’ve already played two overtimes,” said Bubon. “You try to get them in that the end of games is so tight, the last 30 seconds. Then you have to tell them that four minutes (overtime) will seem like an eternity. You need to cut back. … They pounced on us in overtime, but thank God Chris struck again.

“It was a crazy game. It was a fun game. I say to the guy behind the bench, “are you having fun?” He said yes. I said, “Great, I’m having a heart attack, I’m so glad you’re having a good time.” But that’s what it’s about. The kids did great. They will remember this forever.

Fenton carried Howland’s offense through the fourth quarter and overtime. Of the Tigers’ 20 points in those two periods, 18 of them came from Fenton.

He knocked down six of his eight 3-pointers there late and finished with 26 points to lead all scorers. Henry added 13 points for Howland and John Perry had 11.

“Thank God Chris was hitting because the other guys weren’t hitting,” Drum said. “Alex (Henry) is a great point guard who has played a lot of games for us, but he had a strain turning the ball over. So if Chris had (not) stepped up there, I think we would have been good. Chris shot with confidence – we always try to get him to shoot with confidence. It was probably the best we’ve had since I’ve been at Howland for one half. … He was on fire.”

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