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Boys Basketball: Pandora-Gilboa survives Columbus Grove in overtime

Feb. 7—COLUMBUS GROVE — As the adage goes, "survival of the fittest" is a commonly used mantra for teams this time of year.

That's exactly how Pandora-Gilboa coach Mike Lee characterized the Rockets' 55-48 overtime victory on Tuesday night over Columbus Grove.

"Our kids were very much aware that we're walking into a hornet's nest here," Lee said. "This time of year, you're going to get everybody's best. We just kept hanging around and hanging around and we finally hit a couple of shots to get a little bit of space, lead-wise. That's a very good basketball team that we went up against, so I give our guys a lot of credit."

Pandora-Gilboa's win pushed them to 16-2 on the year with a still unblemished mark of 5-0 in the Putnam County League. Columbus Grove slipped to 9-8 overall and 3-3 in the PCL.

Pandora-Gilboa closed the game with nine of the final 10 points after trailing for the first two minutes of the extra period.

Colin Harris hit the go-ahead hoop with 2:20 left to make it 48-47, accounting for the 14th and final lead change on the night.

Aiden Harris led the way for Pandora-Gilboa with 18 points. Colin Harris added 11.

Columbus Grove played the majority of the second half without Bo Birnesser after he picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter. When Birnesser checked back in at the 5:24 mark of the fourth quarter, he lasted just nine seconds before he picked up number five.

With Birnesser out, Trenton Barraza shouldered the offensive load, scoring 10 straight Columbus Grove points in the third quarter and finishing the night with a game-high 20 points.

"He (Barraza) got more comfortable with how they were guarding him in the second half and he started to attack more," Columbus Grove coach Connor Kohls said. "He did it all tonight. The drive and kick, creating for other people, his three-point shot. He played really well.

"I probably should have just let Trenton go (at the end of regulation). Instead, I called a timeout to try and get him a free run at the rim. They guarded it really well by switching and using their length."

The Rockets had one foul to give in the final seconds of the fourth, and they used it at the right time.

Kohls called a timeout to set up a play with 6.2 seconds left. Pandora-Gilboa fouled with 2.4 seconds left, then they forced a bad shot that sent the game to overtime.

That was the good news.

The bad news was that both Colin and Aiden Harris ended the fourth quarter with four fouls. Despite the dangerous territory, neither player fouled out of the game in the extra four minutes.

"Those are experienced kids. They've been in this position before," Lee said of Colin and Aiden Harris. "We've had situations where one or both of them have ended up with three or four fouls late in the game, but they're smart kids. They both have a very high basketball I.Q."

Pandora-Gilboa shot 46% from the field (18 of 39) compared to 41% from Columbus Grove (18 of 43).

The Bulldogs held the edge on the boards 21-18 but committed more turnovers 11-8.

Pandora-Gilboa 55, Columbus Grove 48

Score by quarters

Pandora-Gilboa 9 7 17 10 5 — 48

Columbus Grove 10 9 12 12 12 — 55

PANDORA-GILBOA

Aiden Harris 18, Colin Harris 11, Nate Maag 9, Owen Huffman 6, Aidan Morris 6, Zach Neuenschwander 5, Totals: 18-14-55

COLUMBUS GROVE

Trenton Barraza 22, Bo Birnesser 11, Kylan Mays 6, Kyle Hopkins 5, Zach Reynolds 3, Landon Best 1, Totals: 18-8-48

Three-point field goals: P-G — A. Harris 2, C. Harris 1, Maag 1, Neuenschwander 1; CG — Barraza 2, Birnesser 1, Hopkins 1.

Records: Pandora-Gilboa 16-2, 5-0 PCL; Columbus Grove 9-8, 3-3 PCL

Reach Chris Howell at 567-242-0468 or on Twitter at @Lima_Howell