By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The Carlinville and Bunker Hill high school boys’ basketball teams treated the folks at the Big House to a thrilling classic Jan. 29.
The host Cavaliers had to rally in the final seconds to force overtime, then outscored the Minutemen 9-0 in the extra four minutes to win, 51-42.
Bunker Hill seemingly had the road win locked up with a two-point lead plus possession with 11.3 on the clock, but failed to execute the inbound. Tate Duckels knocked the ball loose in the backcourt and Cole Sullivan dove on top of it. A ‘jump ball’ was called in favor of the Cavaliers with seven seconds left.
Carlinville attempted a three that was blocked but managed to maintain possession following the deflection. The Cavaliers then gave the ball to Sawyer Smith, who spotted Duckels slashing along the baseline despite being double-teamed. Duckels caught the pass and banked in a tough layup all in one motion one second before the buzzer.
CHS went up 21-11 late in the first half, but committed four turnovers that led to an 8-0 Bunker Hill run at the intermission.
The Minutemen went on a 13-6 run to start the second half and took their biggest lead of the game at 32-27 before the Cavaliers trimmed the margin to 32-31 prior to the close of the third.
After Carlinville reclaimed advantage at 40-39, Cole Yates connected on a clutch three for Bunker Hill to put the Minutemen in the driver’s seat prior to the Cavaliers’ stunning reversal.
Smith ended the evening with a game-high 18 points, including 16 in the second half and overtime, for Carlinville. Sullivan added a career-best 14 tallies on four threes.
Matt Dunn added seven points, eight rebounds, one assist and one steal. Smith pulled down seven boards and Camden Naugle finished with six points and nine rebounds.
Carlinville, which is currently playing without its leading scorer Dominic Alepra, improved to 11-13 with the win. The Cavaliers fell to 1-3 in the South Central Conference with a 62-27 loss at Litchfield Jan. 25.
Bunker Hill is 8-17.
Prior to the game, the Cavaliers honored Grant Hammann as a member of the “10,000 Shot Club,” sponsored by the Carlinville Basketball Boosters. Hammann received a T-shirt courtesy of The Cubby Hole, as well as gift cards from Boente Shell and Dairy Queen.
Carlinville travels to Staunton (13-10; 2-2 SCC) for an SCC battle with the Bulldogs before returning home for a non-conference game against Lincolnwood this weekend.