If the opening game of the Class 3A West Central District 3 Tournament at Lincoln High School is any indication, this is going to be one heckuva tournament.
Two-time defending champion and No. 1 seed Lincoln needed triple overtime before staving off the upstart Hazen Highlanders, 72-60.
“I have never been in three overtimes before,” said Lincoln senior Jayson Williams. “That was crazy.”
Williams had the last of what seemed like dozens of crucial plays in the game.
With the score tied at 59 early in the third overtime, Williams stripped the ball from Hazen star Dominic Green and drove in for the go-ahead layup. As he shot the ball he was fouled by Green, who fouled out on the play with a game-high 25 points.
“They were trying to get it to (Green), I’d been on him all day,” Williams said. “They tried to do a little handoff and I just got a hand in there and was able to break away with it.”
Once Green fouled out, Lincoln was able to take charge for the remainder of the final overtime. Lincoln (19-3) advances to play Peninsula (16-5) at 1 p.m. Saturday in a quarterfinal at Puyallup High. Hazen will face Mt. Tahoma (5-17) in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Clover Park.
Green is the leading scorer in Hazen High history and is committed to Arizona State — but he was having an abysmal shooting night until late in the fourth quarter.
Green was just 4-for-18 from the floor before nailing a long 3-pointer from well beyond the top of the key to pull Hazen within four points with 2 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in regulation.
Hazen — which did not take a lead until the second overtime — tied the game on a Matthew Williams 3-pointer with 15 seconds left. The teams headed to the first overtime at 43-43.
Playing with four fouls, Green nailed two more 3-pointers in the first overtime, and was at the line to shoot three free throws with his team trailing 53-51 and 2.2 seconds showing on the clock. He made two of three to send the game to a second overtime.
The second overtime was a defensive struggle as fatigue set in. Each team scored just four points, but it set the stage for Williams’ big play in the third overtime.
“You can’t say enough about what Jayson Williams did today, with his defense,” said Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton. “He was guarding their two best players, creating multiple steals and creating opportunities for our offense.”
Josiah Barsh’s 17 points led Lincoln, with 10 coming during the overtime periods.