HOT SPRINGS -- A little bit of pressure did wonders for the England Lions on Saturday afternoon, while Clarendon's similar game plan backfired.
Senior guard Warren Green scored a game-high 25 points, including making 4 of 4 free throws in the final 4.8 seconds, to carry England over Clarendon 77-71 in double overtime of the boys Class 2A state championship game in front 5,474 fans at Bank OZK Arena.
England (30-5) forced three consecutive turnovers to help overcome a 52-44 fourth-quarter deficit. Clarendon (23-10) attempted to turn up the pressure on England in the second overtime only to have England connect on four layups.
"Down eight [points] and four minutes left I figured they were about to try to run some time off the clock," England Coach Chris Houser said. "I felt we had to turn to our full-court pressure man defense at that point to force some things and speed them up a little bit. Luckily, we were able to do that and get some easy buckets."Gallery: 2A Boys Basketball State Championship
After a free throw by senior Tyler Woods with 4:29 left in the fourth quarter cut Clarendon's lead to 52-45, England junior guard Kevante Davis got a steal that led to a layup by Woods. Clarendon lost the ball out of bounds at the 4:00 mark and a tip-in by junior Tamarous Dodson cut the deficit to 52-49.
Green's steal with 3:42 led to two free throws for Davis, who was 11 of 16 from the free-throw line and finished with 17 points.
"We had a chance to put them away," Clarendon Coach Kendrick Hudson said. "It's a game of momentum and we made errors. ... They turned up their pressure for the first time in the game and we didn't handle it well."
England reserve senior guard Justus Filoteo hit a 21-footer with 48 seconds to play in regulation to give England a 58-57 lead. Clarendon tied it 10 seconds later on a free throw by senior Rodrick Williams.
After England turned the ball over with 31 seconds to play, Clarendon missed three shots in the final five seconds that would won it.
Clarendon rallied from a 64-59 deficit in the first overtime to force a second extra period. Williams, who scored Clarendon's final eight points, including all six in the second overtime, hit a 5-footer with 46 seconds left to tie the game 65-65.
Hudson asked his team to press after Davis picked up his fifth foul at the end of the first overtime. England had two turnovers in the final four minutes, but it also came up with four layups to secure its second state title since 2015.
"I tried to turn up the pressure on our end because their point guard [Davis] had fouled out," Hudson said. "I probably shouldn't have made that gamble. We were playing pretty good defensively, but we got a little more aggressive and it came back to bite us."
Houser admitted his team had to change its style when Davis fouled out.
"Davis is one of our primary ball-handlers, best scorers and top free-throw shooters," Houser said. "When he fouled out, Warren stepped up in his absence, took the load at handling the ball and making tough free throws down the stretch."
Dodson put England ahead for good with 26.8 seconds remaining, taking a pass from Green for a wide-open 3-footer and a 73-71 lead.
With a chance to send the game into a third overtime, Clarendon junior Kevin Eason missed a 6-footer. Green grabbed the rebound. After a timeout, Green was fouled. His two free throws with 4.8 seconds left ensured the victory.
Green capped the scoring with two more free throws when Clarendon was called for a technical foul for calling an excessive timeout.
Dodson added 12 points to England's total. He and Woods each collected a team-high 14 rebounds for England, which enjoyed a 47-39 advantage on the boards.
Clarendon played without 6-6 senior Maalik Cartwright, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the state semifinals, but did have four players score 11 points or more.
Williams led Clarendon with 20 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, while getting 3 blocked shots. Eason finished with 17 points, junior Tyrus Thomas put in 13 points and Brandon Bonner scored 11 points.
"It was a great game throughout," Houser said. "I'm just glad the way we stepped up to come back from the fourth-quarter deficit and win in overtime."
In a game full of highs and lows, Green stood tall in the end. The senior did a little of everything for England and ended with a game-high 25 points. He shot 8 of 25 from the floor, had 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals. He sealed the victory by going 4 of 4 from the free-throw line in the final four seconds.
Neither team had been involved in a double-overtime game before Saturday. All of Clarendon’s games ended in regulation, while England beat Mountain Pine 74-67 on Dec. 3 in overtime. … England held a 16-1 advantage in bench points. … Clarendon came up short in its only previous state finals appearance, which was a blowout loss to Cedar Ridge in 2014. … England was one of the more experienced teams in the Class 2A state tournament, with six seniors. … England hadn’t suffered a loss since Jan. 29, a 67-65 setback at Bigelow.
At a glance
CLASS 2A BOYS
STATE TOURNAMENT SCORES
England 77, Clarendon 71, 2OT
England 66, East Poinsett County 47
Clarendon 89, Lafayette County 67
England 70, Earle 63
East Poinsett County 68, Quitman 46
Clarendon 56, White County Central 36
Lafayette County 81, Marked Tree 76
Earle 66, Mountainburg 47
England 57, Parkers Chapel 36
East Poinsett Co. 59, Yellville-Summit 50
Quitman 77, Junction City 68
White County Central 68, Hampton 57
Clarendon 68, Flippin 30
Lafayette County 77, Pangburn 55
Marked Tree 57, Eureka Springs 44
England’s Warren Green celebrates after a basket during the second overtime of England’s victory over Clarendon on Saturday. Green had 25 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals to earn MVP honors.
England’s Tyler Woods (3) works toward the basket in front of Clarendon’s Antwaun Jefferson during Saturday’s game.
Sports on 03/10/2019
Print Headline: England's late press flattens Clarendon