LINGLE – For the second year in a row, it took not one but two overtimes for the Southeast and Lingle-Fort Laramie boys’ basketball teams to settle on a winner.
And for the second consecutive year, it was Southeast coming out on top, 72-71.
“You have five kids who can play 95% of the game then go into two overtimes and still give that much effort and heart into the game, it’s just incredible,” Southeast coach Craig Leithead said. “That’s what won the game.”
Southeast senior Kyler Clark scored all five points in the second overtime period to secure the win for the Cyclones.
Midway through the final overtime, Clark converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to put his team up for good at 70-67, and with 21 seconds left in the game, Clark iced the game for Southeast, knocking down both of his free-throw attempts.
Clark ended the game with a game-high 25 points, three assists and three steals for the Cyclones.
“He’s a big leader on this team,” Leithead said. “He’s going to take those shots. They don’t rattle him. He just steps up and does it. He’s done it a couple times.”
Clark was one of four Cyclones in double-figures. Sophomore Aydan Desmond added 15 points and 10 rebounds, while senior Austin Short added 12 points. Junior Cole Sauer tossed in 11.
“Austin played a really great game. Des got into foul trouble. Cooper, that was the best game I’ve seen him play this year. Same for Cole Sauer,” Leithead said. “It was absolutely a team effort.”
Before reaching overtime, Southeast only trailed on two occasions throughout the game.
LFL sophomore Brody Roberts scored the game’s first points, but the Dogger led lasted only seconds as Desmond tied the game at two apiece.
It was the only time Lingle led during regulation until the fourth quarter.
Southeast managed to push its lead to as many as 11 at 48-37 following a 3-pointer with 2:27 left in the third quarter.
However, that’s when the Doggers mounted their comeback.
LFL went on a 14-2 run to take a 51-50 lead with to regain the lead since the opening seconds of the contest.
“We got a little lackadaisical,” Leithead said. “We were getting a little tired, getting into that foul trouble and not having Des on the floor, that was big.”
Over the final five minutes of regulation, Southeast and Lingle swapped the lead four times and were tied on three occasions.
Freshman Brady Cook tied the game at 58 with 6.6 seconds left to ultimately force the first overtime period.
It took a minute and a half into the first overtime period for a team to break the tie.
LFL junior Aidan Mattheus broke the tie, putting the Doggers in front 60-58.
The lead was short lived as Clark tied the game at 60 on the ensuing Southeast offensive possession.
Over the next two minutes, the game went from a two-point Lingle lead to being tied. That was until Clark drained a 3-pointer with 23 seconds left to put Southeast back in front 67-66.
With 17.9 seconds left, LFL junior Nolan Spears went 1-for-2 at the charity stripe to tie the game and force a second overtime.
It took nearly a minute and half into the second extra period before Clark broke the tie for good.
During the second overtime, the teams combined 5-of-17 from the free-throw line. Lingle went 2-of-6, while Southeast went 3-of-11.
Lingle was led by Roberts with 21 points and 10 assists, while Cook tallied 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks. Mattheus had 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Spears tossed in 10 points.
“It’s always a fight between Southeast and Lingle no matter what since I’ve been coaching,” Leithead said.
On Saturday, Southeast suffered only its second loss of the season as Pine Bluffs handed the Cyclones a 56-41 loss.
“Pine is a great team. They play a lot of really big competition,” Leithead said. “Our boys aren’t going shy down. We’ve talked about it in the locker room, they are ready to go (Friday).”
Southeast stayed with Pine Bluffs early in the game.
The Cyclones trailed 20-15 after one quarter, but that’s when Pine Bluffs started to pull away.
Over the next two quarters, the Hornets outscored Southeast 24-12 to take a 44-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Over the final eight minutes, Southeast was able to chip away at the deficit, outscoring Pine Bluffs 14-12.
Short led the team with 17 points and six rebounds, while Desmond added 13 points and four rebounds.
Southeast (12-2 overall and 3-0 1A Southeast Quad) hosts Mitchell, Nebraska on Friday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. and Niobrara County on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m.