Boys basketball battles Olathe East but are unable to pull out win

Cougars drop their third straight game with a Double Overtime thriller to the East Hawks, 69-62.

A basketball matchup against Olathe East is always an intense game. There has been hostility in this series since the 3OT game two years ago that knock Northwest out of a chance to make it to the state tournament in 2008.

Even though boys’ basketball took care of the Eagles last season at home this turned out to be another entertaining contest.

The Cougars started out strong in the first quarter securing the lead early and maintained the lead for the entire first quarter. The two leading scorers for most the season, Steve Carver and AJ Spencer attempted all of the shots in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Olathe East came back strong taking over the lead when the score reached 20-18. The Hawks were able to get balanced scoring from their back court. Junior Tyler Kalinoski and Senior Bryce Schippers each led the team with 9 points.

Carver led all scorers with 12 points in the half. Spencer contributed 7 points. Junior Trey Fruehling was the only other Cougar to score in the first half.

East took the lead into halftime with a late bucket off an offensive rebound. The Hawks dominated the offensive glass in the first half giving them a 27-22 advantage.

” Early on we were playing it because they were struggling scoring against it,” Coach Mike Rose said, ” They got some put backs late that really effected us.”

Opening up the third quarter, the Cougars came out with a more aggressive attitude attacking both ends of the floor and fighting back to regain the lead. Some key defensive plays by Senior Nick Feighner allowed the Cougars to get back in front. Two steals and outlet passes to Carver and Spencer helped Northwest take a two point lead into the fourth quarter.

Even with the effective steals, the Northwest 3-2 zone is what kept the Hawks in check. The Cougars are known for their man-to-man defense, but facing East who created a height mismatch forced an adjustment.

” The kids really felt comfortable running our 3-2 defense,” Coach Mike Rose said.

In the fourth quarter the game really started to heat up with the each team holding the lead for a portion of the quarter. Olathe East held a 50-45 lead with less than 2 minutes left in regulation, but Feighner came up with another big steal giving the Northwest a chance to win. In the following possession, Feighner was able to draw a charge just in front of the Olathe East bench.

AJ Spencer was then able to draw a foul and get to the line knocking down two key free throws to give Northwest a 51-51 tie. The Hawks then took the ball all the way down the floor and got a good look at the basket. But Junior Cole Cooks layup with 2 seconds left was called after Junior Drew Goodger took the charge.

The game then went into overtime where Northwest was able to only extend the lead to only 2 points.However, Carver was able to hit a huge basket with what it seemed to be four seconds left on the clock. Olathe East went on to call a timeout,but they were still able to to get 4 seconds put back on the clock and the ball out of bounds near half court.

East then forced a foul on the Cougars sending them to the line. The Hawks Kalinoski then hit two major free throws down the stretch to continue the game into a second overtime.

In the second overtime it was almost all Olathe East who secured a 5 point lead early in the overtime and then never let up after that making almost all of their free throws down the stretch.

The loss to Olathe East drops the Cougars to 8-5 on the season and their third consecutive loss. The three losses have been especially tough because the combined score for all three losses has only been 15 points.

” I was pleased the way we battled, we fought all night long, ” Rose said.

Northwest has a difficult bounce back today against SM West who beat the Cougars on Tuesday 41-37. The game will take place at 5 p.m. at SM West.

Northwest Point Totals:

AJ Spencer 27 points

Steve Carver 25 points

Nick Feighner 5 points

Trey Fruehling 3 points

Drew Goodger 2 points