ONTARIO — Mansfield Senior’s 26th and final offensive rebound of the evening was its most important.
Jakobe Reese’s offensive board and putback with 13 seconds remaining capped a wild fourth quarter that saw the lead exchange hands four times and sent the Tygers to a 52-49 win over Ontario at the O-Rena on Tuesday.
Senior High (16-4) was clinging to a 49-47 lead when Quan Hilory was fouled with 13.3 seconds remaining. Hilory hit the front end of the 1-and-1, but misfired on the back end. Reese gathered the errant shot and dropped it softly through the rim for a 52-47 lead.
“I knew they had a lot of momentum and if they got the ball and got a good shot off, it was most likely going to go in,” said Reese, who had seven rebounds on the evening. “In my mind I was thinking if this comes off the rim at the free throw line I’ll try my best to go get it.
“I used my length to my (advantage) and got it over top of him and put it back.”
The Warriors (13-8) quickly advanced the ball into the frontcourt but misfired on a 3-pointer. Ontario’s Kolten Kurtz eventually came up with the ball in the ensuing scrum and scored as the horn sounded.
“Rebounds off their missed free throws just killed us late in the game,” Ontario coach Joe Balogh said. “We knew coming in that they were going to be relentless on the glass.”
Dontavious Burtin grabbed nine boards for the Tygers, all at the offensive end. The 6-foot-5 forward’s rebound of an Angelo Grose missed free throw attempt with 30.8 seconds remaining prolonged Senior High’s final possession.
“We’ve been preaching to him lately to be more active,” Senior High coach Marquis Sykes said. “He’s really started to pick it up here as far as getting offensive rebounds. He’s athletic enough that he can get to balls a lot of guys can’t get to.”
The Tygers led 40-37 to start the fourth quarter before Shaquan Coburn tied it up with a 3-pointer with 7:14 remaining. Back-to-back buckets by Burtin and Hilory gave the Tygers a 44-40 advantage, but Parker VanArsdalen’s conventional three-point play followed by a Coburn layup off a VanArsdalen assist gave Ontario a 45-44 lead with 4:02 remaining.
Hilory hit a pair of free throws with 2:16 to play to give the Tygers a 46-45 lead, but a Griffin Shaver jumper with 1:53 to go gave the Warriors their final lead with 1:53 to play.
Hilory’s 3-pointer with 1:25 to play gave Senior High the lead for good at 49-47. The senior scored all 13 of his points in the second half, including eight of Mansfield Senior’s 12 fourth-quarter points.
De’Zion Taylor was the only other Tyger to reach double figures, scoring 10 points on 3 of 5 shooting. Angelo Grose and Anthony Hawkins each scored seven points. Hawkins swiped seven boards.
Coburn led the Warriors with 14 points. Kurtz added 13 while Shaver and VanArnsdalen each had eight.
The Warriors had their seven game winning streak snapped. Ontario closes the regular season at Madison on Friday.
Mansfield Senior will host Ashland on Friday with a share of the Ohio Cardinal Conference championship on the line. Lexington clinched at least a piece of the crown with a win at Wooster on Tuesday.
“Tonight was great preparation for (Friday),” Sykes said. “It was a tense, tournament-like atmosphere.
“We’ve had championship-style games these last couple of weeks. Hopefully our guys are prepared for what’s ahead.”