State Fair trailed by 12 midway through the second half and by seven in the final minute before coming back to beat Three Rivers 97-89 in overtime on Saturday at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
Kedar Edwards finished off the rally at the end of regulation with a basket in the paint to tie the game at 78-78 with .3 seconds left.
“The play was called for Joe Thomasson to take the ball straight to the basket,” Edwards said. “I told him I knew their big couldn’t guard me. I told him if he stays in the game, pitch it back and I’m going to go right by him.”
It was one of eight assists Thomasson had in the game to go with eight rebounds and 23 points. Edwards finished with 20 points but eight of those came in the final minute of regulation and in overtime.
“I didn’t have a great game and he still trusted me,” Edwards said of Thomasson. “That’s the trust level we have.”
In the overtime Three Rivers briefly took a lead on a pair of Jared White free throws, but State Fair jumped back in front moments later when Thomasson drove to the rim for a layup. The Roadrunners broke the game open when Dondre Alexander got a steal and a 3-point play with 1:29 left in overtime, then followed that up with a 3-pointer to make it 90-84.
Thomasson finished with 23 points including eight points to spark the State Fair rally. His 3-pointer with 7:13 left cut the lead to 68-61. He followed that with a long 2-pointer and a 3-point play with 4:49 left to make it 68-66 Three Rivers.
“We just kind of battled and battled and hung in there,” said State Fair coach Kevin Thomas. “We got some stops. Our 2-3 zone was able to bother them a little bit. We got some stops and were able to get some stuff in transition and then down the stretch they missed quite a few free throws. That definitely contributed to us winning.”
Three Rivers shot 19 of 33 from the free throw line in the game (58 percent) including 1 of 8 in the final minute of regulation, allowing State Fair to hold Three Rivers to one point in the Raiders’ last five possessions of regulation as the Roadrunners fought back from a 77-70 deficit in 45 seconds.
On the other end, Edwards went to work, hitting a 3-pointer and a layup before his final basket in the paint with .3 left.
Three Rivers jumped into the lead early in the first half and kept State Fair at arm’s length for most of the game. After a Jake Coddington 3-pointer gave the Raiders a 22-12 lead, the Roadrunners answered to get within two before Three Rivers extended the lead once again. The Raiders led by as many as 12 in the first half before State Fair cut into the lead; a 3-pointer by Deron Hill made it 43-37 late in the half.
Three Rivers went on a 10-3 run to open the second half, including three layups from White who finished the game with 29 points.
“We have to do a better job of helping,” Thomas said. “Our help defense wasn’t very good. All night he drove to the rim and just got layup after layup after layup. We were very fortunate to come out on top. There were a lot of things we didn’t do very well.”
After falling behind 55-40 early in the second half, State Fair got to within nine before Three Rivers began to pull away again.
“A lot of us played one-on-one basketball,” Hill said. “They just took us out of our game. A lot of guys wanted to make plays on their own, but we’re a team. We came together, won it as a team.”
Kevin Punter finished the game with 21 points including 4 of 5 from the 3-point line. Alexander had 16.
“From the beginning of the game, we told ourselves we weren’t going to leave this gym with a loss,” Edwards said. “We went down eight at halftime, we went down 15 in the second half, then we were down 12. We never said it was over. We were down seven with 44 seconds left and we still felt great.”