CLEARWATER — In the final frantic seconds of regulation, Lakewood's Rasheed Hall split through two defenders and lofted what he hoped would work magic off the glass. Instead, the ball bounced around before falling off the rim, sending Tuesday's game against Clearwater into overtime.
The Tornadoes, given new life, made the most of their second chance in overtime to pull out a 62-60 victory.
"We were very fortunate at the end," Clearwater coach Allen Carden said. "We got a break with that missed layup at the end of regulation."
After being held scoreless in the first half, Tornadoes forward Okaro White started to become more involved in the offense, scoring 18 in the second half to help Clearwater take a 48-38 lead with three minutes remaining.
Lakewood (13-5) though stormed back, rallying behind a key 3-pointer by Dominic Lane and two clutch free throws by Bernard Reedy with 46 seconds remaining to tie the game. After a turnover, the Spartans got the ball back and set up Hall for a potential winning shot.
"You got to give Lakewood a lot of credit," Carden said. "We got up by 10 and they just wouldn't quit and kept clawing and fighting to get back into the game."
In overtime, Clearwater (17-5) seized control on a layup by Joey Nungester, followed by a steal and basket from Brandon Leston. That gave the Tornadoes enough of a cushion to hold off another comeback.
Besides White, Clearwater had three other players reach double figures in scoring. Lakewood was led by Mike Singleton, who had 19.
"We played hard and had an opportunity at the end," Spartans coach Dan Wright said. "But we still have a problem finishing games."