By Jeremy Balan
After blowing a 22-point second-quarter lead, visiting Washington High School escaped with a 77-70 Academic Athletic Association overtime road win over Marshall on Thursday.
The Eagles (11-7, 3-0) carried a 47-29 lead into the half and withstood a second-half rally by the Phoenix (7-9, 2-2) in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
Washington pulled off the win, but at the end of regulation the Phoenix looked to be keyed for the upset.
Down 66-64 with nine seconds remaining, Marshall senior guard Travalle Johnson took the ball up the court, slipped and lost the ball. Marshall forward Theoatis Hill went to the floor and wrestled the ball away from a Washington defender, then, while still on the floor, he found a streaking Johnson, who hit a floating runner in the key at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
As exciting as the finish in regulation was, the gym quickly deflated in the overtime period on an ending to the game that was equally anticlimactic and unfortunate. With just under three minutes remaining in overtime and Marshall trailing 71-68, junior Arthur Captain was the fourth Marshall player to foul out of the game, forcing the Phoenix to finish with only four players.
Washington simply wound down the clock and added six more points on free throws and the undermanned Phoenix wouldn’t threaten again.
“We’ve been playing with five or six guys the majority of the season, so tonight we had a luxury with eight, but ended up with four at the end,” said Marshall head coach Dezebee Miles. “All I can say is that I have a great bunch of guys and all we can do is keep pushing forward and do the best we can.”
Washington standout senior guard Brenden Glapion led all scorers with 33 points, but it was an all-around performance from fellow senior guard Jeremy Jetton that may have been the difference.
Jetton added 25 points, but after forward LeVander Moore dealt with foul trouble early, he took over the responsibilities of guarding Hill, who may be the most dynamic scorer in the AAA.
Hill came into the game averaging more than 23 points per game, and finished above his average with 25 points, but the undersized Jetton held him to 7-of-25 shooting from the floor.
“It was his decision [to guard Hill],” said Washington head coach Jolinko Lassiter. “Once LeVander came out of the game, Jeremy took over and did a great job on him. We know [Hill] will get his, but we did a good job of making it difficult on him.”
Lassiter wasn’t happy about letting the Phoenix back into the game, but knows Marshall is one of the toughest places to win in the AAA.
“Marshall is just one of those teams that always plays well against us,” Lassiter said. “Today, we knew they were going to make their run, but it was good to go out in overtime, stay composed and win the game.”
Brenden Glapion – 33
Jeremy Jetton – 25
Galen Hall – 6
Johnny Fu – 5
LeVander Moore – 4
Theoatis Hill – 25
Travalle Johnson – 24
Arthur Captain – 9
Mark Alexander – 5
Malik Ngumezi – 4