By Tanner Widomski
The Grape Pickers escaped a big Region 3 boys basketball game in overtime 72-68 after relinquishing an 11-point fourth quarter lead on Tuesday night.
Northwestern guard Malachi Shaffer had an opportunity to win it in the final seconds of regulation but his floater was no good.
This win has improved North East’s overall record to 9-3 and keeps the Pickers in first place in Region 3 at 8-1.
After a back-and-forth first half of play, the Pickers led 28-26. North East, who has been a tremendous second half team this year, got off to a hot start in the third quarter and was leading 43-33 at one point, but Northwestern would not go down easy.
With 3:24 left in the fourth quarter, the Grape Pickers had a 52-41 lead, but then the Wildcats started clawing their way back.
They had huge performances from Ryan Tewell and Eric Steinle, who had 25 and 19 points, respectively. Tewell made a few deep 3-pointers down the stretch as Northwestern was mounting their comeback, but Steinle fouled out late in regulation, which was a key moment in this game because consequently, the Wildcats were without one of their top scorers in the overtime period.
North East took control in overtime and outscored Northwestern 13-9 to seal the win.
The Grape Pickers had a well-balanced attack offensively led by Garrett Hein with 15 points. Carter Hassenplug ended the game with 13 points, including two clutch free throws to ice the game for North East in the overtime period.
Brandon Perez and Ryan Mayes both had 12 points, and Seth Fuller added 11.