MONMOUTH — The Monmouth boys’ basketball team is getting used to this overtime thing. For the third consecutive game, the Mustangs journeyed beyond regulation. Tuesday night they battled Wiscasset into two overtimes before Tim Whitmore found Roger Bachelder wide open underneath the basket with 3.3 seconds left on the clock to lift the Mustangs to a 53-52 thrilling victory.

The game was a roller coaster ride featuring 10 lead changes and many more momentum swings. After seeing his team’s four-point lead evaporate into a one-point deficit with 7.1 seconds remaining in the second extra session, Monmouth coach Lucas Turner called a timeout to set up a final offensive play. Turner called for Whitmore to take the ball out on the sideline and work for a shot. Wiscasset forward Mason Brewer then went over to double up on the Monmouth guard which left Bachelder all alone under the basket.

“That was a big mental mistake by us,” said Wiscasset coach Wayne Benjamin after seeing no one rotate down low to help on Bachelder.

“Brewer slid over for the double team and I was wide open,” said Bachelder who scored half of his eight points in the second overtime. “I’d been missing layups all night. I knew I had to make this one.”

Whitmore had a career night shooting the ball. He had hit six straight shots in the first half and connected on 13-of-14 free throws en route to a game-high 32 points. His first option on the final play was to shoot the ball.

“Originally it was for me to throw it down,” said Whitmore. “(Brewer’s) a big guy. He had his hands up. I was going to shoot it, but I knew Roger would be there.”

“That’s the first time he passed off that play,” added Turner.

The Redskins (10-3) had one final chance after that, but Ashton Benn’s court-length drive ended when his jump shot from 18 feet caromed off the backboard to the right of the rim and fell, appropriately enough, into the hands of Whitmore.

Whitmore’s first half shooting staked the Mustangs (9-4) to a 25-22 lead at intermission. The senior had 17 of those 25.

“Usually we run an offense with three different looks,” said Turner, “one with Roger, one for Tim and another for Robbie Neal. Robbie had a head cold tonight so we let Tim freelance a bit more tonight.”

Neal started slow, taking only three shots heading into the fourth quarter before finishing with 11 points. The trio accounted for 51 of the Mustangs’ 53 points.

Wiscasset’s outside game struggled with guards Jordan Jones, Tyler Sonia and Devin Grover hitting on just 6-of-27 shots. With that part of the offense stagnant, the Redskins attacked down low. Brewer was a force throughout the second half and extra sessions, finishing with a team-high 14 points while pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking a pair of shots.

“We wanted to take advantage in the post,” said Benjamin. “It helped us at times.”

Monmouth put the game into overtime on a pair of Whitmore free throws late in regulation.

The first overtime began with Wiscasset, aided by a pair of drives to the hoop by Brewer, taking a three-point lead. The home team answered with a pair of shots from the charity stripe by Whitmore followed by a slashing lay in by Neal to take a 47-46 lead with 3.3 ticks remaining.

The drama continued when Benn (13 points) was fouled in the act of shooting with 0.2 left on the clock. His first shot missed before he connected for the tying score.

The second overtime went back and forth as well. Two free throws by Neal and a long pass from Whitmore to Bachelder put the Mustangs up 51-47. The Redskins responded with a free throw by Benn and two more by Ben Murphy to close within one before a Benn drive to the basket gave them their final lead of the game, setting up Bachelder’s heroics.

Turner summed up the thriller simply enough.

“We just had one more point tonight.”


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