ASHLAND — Thirty-two minutes weren’t enough for longtime rivals Ontario and Norwalk.
The third-seeded Truckers rallied from a nine-point deficit midway through the third quarter for a 66-62 overtime win in the nightcap of a Division II district semifinal doubleheader Wednesday at Arrow Arena.
Norwalk (17-8) will take on top-seeded Shelby at 7 p.m. Saturday in the district championship game. The Whippets dispatched Huron 75-49 in Wednesday’s early game.
The Truckers trailed 35-26 with 4:44 remaining in the third after consecutive 3-pointers by Ontario’s Darian Delbrugge before mounting their comeback. Norwalk closed the quarter on an 11-2 run to tie the score at 37-37 going to the fourth.
The Truckers opened the fourth on a 12-3 run and took a 49-40 lead with 3:56 remaining in regulation after a 3-pointer by Ian Minor. Ontario (17-6) outscored Norwalk 14-5 the rest of the period to force overtime.
Griffin Shaver, who battled foul trouble all evening, scored his first points of the night on 3-pointer with 3:04 remaining to cut Norwalk’s advantage to 49-46. Shaver hit both ends of a one-and-one with 15.4 seconds to tie it at 54 and send the game to a four-minute extra session.
“They played their (butts) off,” Ontario coach Joe Balogh said. “We controlled what we could control and some of the uncontrollables hurt us.”
Shaver and Norwalk’s Will Gehlhausen exchanged body shots during the overtime period. Shaver scored all eight of Ontario’s points while Gehlhausen scored seven of Norwalk’s 12. His 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining gave the Truckers a 63-60 lead before Shaver connected on a mid-range jumper to make it 63-62 with 44 seconds to play. Minor split a pair of free throws with 21.6 seconds remaining before Ontario was whistled for a controversial offensive would with 9.1 ticks to play. Garrett Chapin connected on a pair of free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining to ice it.
“We got the early lead and then they sort of panicked just a little and fouled,” Norwalk coach Steve Gray said. “Overtime was good because it took the press off and allowed us to execute a little bit better.”
While Shaver came up big late for the Warriors, Kolten Kurtz carried the freight early. The senior sharpshooter connected on seven 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 23 points. Shaver finished with 13 points, all in the final 3:04 of regulation and overtime, whileDelbrugge added 11.
“(Kurtz) was big for us,” Balogh said. “And I thought (Shaver) got the crap beat out of him all night like he has all year. But her persevered and made a lot of great plays down the stretch.
“Those two guys were huge for us tonight as always. They are two guys who kind of define Ontario basketball by how hard they play and the passion that they have for the game.”
Minor led Norwalk with 17 points, while Minor had 16. Gehlhausen added 13 while Kyler Kromer had 11.
I thought Minor and Kromer were just unbelievable,” Gray said. “Those two stepped up big time.”