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Champion wins in OT on buzzer beater

NEW WATERFORD — Every kid dreams of hitting a basket at the buzzer to win a big game. For Champion’s Trayvon Edwards, that dream came true.

With 19 seconds and counting in overtime, the Flashes, who trailed by one, passed the ball around the top of the key several times looking for an open shot. Finally, with only a couple ticks remaining, Joey Fell took a shot from the top of the key. His shot bounced off the front of the rim, with Edwards grabbing it and throwing up the rebound toward the hoop. As the buzzer rang, Edwards’ shot dropped in for a 62-61 win that sent the Champion fans and team into a frenzy.

“We were passing it around the 3-point line, Fell shot it and they didn’t box me out,” Edwards said. “So, I got the rebound, shot it up there and it went in. I just threw it up.”

Champion coach Nathan Kish didn’t have much choice but to let his Golden Flashes play on in the final seconds.

“We didn’t have any timeouts remaining, and they were in a 2-3 zone,” Kish said. “We got a decent look, missed it, and Trayvon happened to be in the right spot at the right time, and he was able to score at the buzzer.”

The win boosts the Flashes’ record to 10-6 on the season, 6-4 in the MVAC Grey Tier. The heartbreaking loss for the Rebels sends them to 8-13 on the year, 6-6 in the league.

The loss was especially disappointing to the Rebels as they held an 11-point lead at the 1:43 mark of the fourth quarter. The Flashes closed regulation play with an 11-0 run, tying the game at 56 with just 19 seconds left on a free throw by Austin Willforth.

Edwards was thankful for the opportunity.

“Thank God for all my teammates,” Edwards said. “Austin does his job every game. He drives to the point, gets contact and scores. He got us through the fourth quarter.”

Kish was relieved.

The Golden Flashes found something late that flustered Crestview.

“Fortunately we worked hard at the end of the game,” Kish said. “We started to press a little bit, and I think they got tentative. They made a couple of bad passes, and once we made a few buckets and we got it close and some momentum rolling, I think that was the difference in the fourth quarter.”

The Rebels seemed in control most of the game as they held an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 26-20 lead at halftime. The Rebels began the second half with a 6-2 run to go up by 10 in the third period. But the Flashes tied the game at 34 with 1:52 left in the frame and grabbed the lead at 37-34 when Mason McKinney buried a 3 from the right corner. They held a 37-36 lead at the end of the quarter.

“Our misses led to long rebounds and led to fast-break points for them,” Kish said. “That is a really good team (Crestview). They won some big games this year, so this is a very big win for us.”

The Flashes went up by three early in the fourth quarter 41-38 before the Rebels went on a 13-0 run to hold a 51-41 lead at the 3:38 mark of the stanza. When the Rebels Jack Yerkey hit a basket with 1:43 remaining, the Rebels held a game-high 11-point lead at 56-45, setting up the exciting final minutes of regulation and overtime.

“I have to credit my kids, they never gave up,” Kish said. “We struggled shooting, and struggled to score, but we battled and they were able to pull it out at the end,”

On the other side, Gates found a silver lining for a team that has become more competitive all season.

“We keep telling these kids that they would get beat by 40 points,” he said. “Now we are really competitive, and we beat the league leader, Newton Falls, and we are able to play with everybody in the league now. Whether we win or lose, we’re right in the game. That we are proud of, but we need to take it up a couple of steps now.”

The Flashes will return to action Tuesday when they host Rootstown in the first round of the OHSAA tournament. The Rebels will try to tune-up for the tournament with a visit to Heartland Christian tonight.

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