BRISTOL - It was a game the St. Paul boys basketball team thought it had in its hands. But after losing a 10-point lead, the Falcons found themselves in double overtime with Derby.
“We didn’t come out to play,” St. Paul forward/guard Tyler Arbuckle said. “You can tell we came out like we we’re going to win the game as if we had it in the bag before the game even started, and it showed. We were acting like we we’re up 30, but we were only up 10 with a minute left. They came back and it ended up going into double overtime.”
Although the play wasn’t as crisp as the Falcons would have liked, they managed to beat the Panthers 90-89 on Tuesday evening as Mike Palmeri hit the game-winning basket with time expiring.
Arbuckle led the Falcons with a game-high 38 points, while Palmeri had 18 and Matthew Gerry had 17.
Derby quickly took a one-point lead (75-74) in the beginning of the first overtime before Arbuckle stole the ball and brought it to the basket for two.
Arbuckle was later sent to the free throw line, only to miss both. But as the second shot rolled off the rim, Kevin Ashworth tipped in in for two points.
Carrying a three-point lead, 78-75, St. Paul sent Derby’s Isaiah Walker to the free throw line. Walker hit both of his shots, bringing the Panthers within one at 78-77.
Jahwan Cody hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the first overtime to give the Panthers their first lead of the game, 80-78.
With almost no time to spare, Palmeri was sent to the free throw line, making both of his shots and sending the game into the second overtime.
Derby immediately put up two as the second overtime began. Arbuckle was then sent to the foul line, making both of his shots to put the Falcons within one at 83-82.
It was back and forth for the remaining four minutes.
With 15 seconds left, the Panthers’ Nate Dockey made one of two free throws, giving his team a 89-88 lead and setting Palmeri up for the game-winner.
Derby handled the ball for almost the entire first quarter, including an early free throw to get the game started.
St. Paul quickly responded with a 3-point goal from Gerry to take the lead. Arbuckle then stole the the ball back for the Falcons and brought it up to the net for another two points.
Derby went on a 7-2 run, taking the lead, 8-6. As time was running out, Matthew Gerry managed to take a one-point lead for St. Paul with 28 seconds remaining.
At the start off the second quarter, Derby was trailing by one before the Falcons’ Tyler Gerry widened the gap to three.
Derby scored four points right before St. Paul went on a 8-2 run. Matthew Gerry hit back-to-back baskets while Ashworth also hit back-to-back shots.
Derby had a 7-2 run of its own as Nate Dockery and Shymar Robinson hit two-point buckets, followed by a three from Cody.
Palmeri answered for the Falcons, hitting back-to-back baskets. He then found himself at the foul line, making one of two baskets.
With just over a minute left in the half, Arbuckle hit a 3-point shot, but not before Derby went on a 4-0 run to end the quarter. The Falcons led 31-27 going into the break.
As the third quarter was evolving, so was Derby. After scoring back-to-back baskets, it was tied 31-31.
St. Paul went on an 10-5 run, including a three from Matthew Gerry, to take a 41-36 lead over the Panthers.
With just a minute left Derby scored three more times, but as the third quarter ended, the Falcons kept their lead, 43-41.
Five minutes into the final quarter the Panthers found themselves within one, 54-53. Just when they needed to keep possession, the Falcons threw the ball out of bounds, turning it over to Derby. Arbuckle managed to get the ball back, but found himself at the free throw line.
The Falcons went up 71-64. The Panthers scored four points in the remaining 46 seconds and as the sound of the buzzer went off, so did a swish off a 3-point basket from Walker to tie the game at 73, sending it into overtime.