Michael Woods put the Bulldogs on his shoulders once they got there.
Hall-Dale’s point guard — the only senior in a decimated starting lineup otherwise monopolized by sophomores — scored nine of his game-high 21 points in the extra session to seal a wild 61-56 MVC win.
“With the rotations and the screens that we set well, I was open or I could pass down low to our big men, who did a great job tonight,” said Woods, who flirted with a triple-double before concluding with nine assists and eight steals.
Those long-armed, strong-armed teammates did more than their share to hoist Hall-Dale (10-6) in an end to regulation that left Mountain Valley (11-4) befuddled and fuming.
Ryan Nicols’ driving bank shot gave the Falcons a 47-45 lead with the final seconds melting away.
The clock stopped at one second when Hall-Dale called timeout. After a brief conference between the three officials, it was reset to three seconds.
Either way, it wasn’t enough time for Woods to dribble the length of the court and put up a prayer. So the Bulldogs had Brian Allen hoist a 75-foot pass from the baseline to just underneath the Hall-Dale basket.
Hall-Dale’s Wes Lapointe and Mountain Valley’s Ryan Stickney leaped for the ball, with Stickney called for the contact.
“We were looking for the tip-in. The foul was a by-product,” Woods said. “Wes Lapointe’s great at tipping the ball. We knew our best shot was getting the ball to him, because we had the whole length of the court to travel, and Brian did it.”
Lapointe (14 points, 14 rebounds) still had to sink both ends of a one-and-one. He nailed the first. The second rattled off the left side of the rim, but the Falcons’ center was saddled with a lane violation.
Hall-Dale took advantage of the reprieve when Lapointe sank the third try.
“That was great, especialy for a kid that has struggled from the free throw line prior to that,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said. “He feels vindicated.”
Hearts sank on the Mountain Valley bench, as the Falcons knew they would face the extra session without leading scorer Jacob Theriault, who fouled out with 1:20 remaining in regulation.
“We initially made a mistake and fouled that kid on that long inbounds pass,” Mountain Valley coach Tom Danylik said. “Then for the first time all night they call somebody coming in early on a foul shot. I’ve got no comment other than that.”
Mountain Valley built its biggest lead of the night, 45-40, on a Theriault drive with 1:48 to go in the fourth.
He missed the free throw that would have made it a 3-point play after sinking his first nine.
“I thought the ball bounced our way a couple of times at the end, which is nice,” Ranslow said. “It’s supposed to when you’ve got a good home crowd and a close game.”
Theriault, who had three fouls at the half, scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth.
Woods buried a 3-pointer and found Allen (nine points, 13 boards) down low to tie it before Nicols’ apparent game-winner.
There were eight lead changes and three ties in the fourth quarter and overtime, alone.
Woods drove to the hoop for Hall-Dale’s first two buckets of overtime. Mountain Valley answered with Milo Jodrey’s first points of the night and a Sean Murphy 3-pointer for a 52-51 lead.
“When (Theriault) went out, I thought we had a lot of kids step up,” Danylik said. “But I just told them in there, you don’t take care of business the first three quarters, the fourth doesn’t matter.”
Woods buried another trey with 1:14 left in OT to give the Bulldogs the lead for good. Lapointe, Woods and Allen also had a string of six straight free throws to pad the lead.
“It’s a big win for us. It’s just setting momentum for us going into the tournament,” Woods said. “We’re not done. This is just getting started.”
Each team needed the win to cement its hopes of avoiding the dreaded preliminary round game in the tournament — Mountain Valley in Western Class B, Hall-Dale in Western C.
Mountain Valley played its second straight overtime game after beating Mt. Abram 61-54 on Monday.
Nicols (10 points), Dom Haines (eight) and Adam Volkernick (seven) chipped in for the Falcons, who fought through 26 turnovers overall and 9-for-29 shooting through the first three periods.
“We still have three good games against Wiscasset, Spruce (Mountain) and Dirigo, so we’ll be in the position we want to be if we take care of our business,” Danylik said.