There was a thriller at Dupont Manual High School on Tuesday night, as the St. X Tigers battled to overcome a first-half deficit, extended the game into overtime and defeated the Manual Crimsons in classic fashion. comeback, 66-65, in the first round. of the seventh region tournament.
Tigers (21-10) coach Kevin Klein had this to say about the comeback win.
“I’m very proud of so many teams that have come through here at St. X,” he said. “But tonight these guys showed something I haven’t seen in a very long time. This will to win, unity through adversity… our whole program culture was exuded to the nth degree in this second half and extra time. Great players make big plays, get timely saves, and believe every step of the way. Super proud of the effort.
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St. X and Manual (21-7) were tied at 54 all after senior guard Mehki Smith missed his three-point attempt to end regulation. But he came off firing on all cylinders in overtime, as Smith scored six straight points to give the Tigers a 60-56 lead with 1:39 remaining. Senior guard Koji Anderson and second-year guard Damone King managed to combine their efforts and tie the game at 60, but Smith went to the edge again soon after to put the Tigers up 63-61 with 29 ,1 seconds to play.
Then Smith grabbed a critical rebound that sent him over the line again, where he was 8-11 on Tuesday night, and he put the Tigers ahead 64-61 with just over ten seconds left. King was fouled and also went to the line, where he was 1-2 to close Manual down on St. X.
But Smith came on with another critical time rebound and followed it up with a 2-2 performance from the free throw line to give the Tigers a 66-62 lead. Anderson, who finished with 24 points, knocked down a three in the closing seconds, but there wasn’t enough time for the Crimsons to capitalize on the shot. King also finished with 27 points for Manual.
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“We can’t go down like this,” Smith said, as he described his state of mind as he landed the decisive shots to close the game. “We have to keep going and fight. I (will) try to help us get there.
St. X advances to face the winner of Trinity-Ballard and will play again March 4 at 6 p.m. at Valley High School.