GENESEO – The Sterling boys basketball team fought its way back into the game at Geneseo on Tuesday night with defensive intensity and determination on both ends of the floor.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, it wasn't quite enough, as the Maple Leafs were able to hang on for a 60-58 overtime victory at Geneseo High School.
The Leafs controlled the first three quarters, and took a 40-33 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
However, Geneseo had 10 second-half turnovers, allowing Sterling (9-14) to claw its way back.
In fact, the Warriors took the lead with 52 seconds left in regulation after Zach Rehmert made a pair of free throws.
Trailing 50-48, Geneseo fed 6-foot-7 junior forward Drew Himmelman, and the big man gathered in traffic and scored the game-tying bucket.
Sterling called timeout and, on the ensuing possession, stepped on the sideline. That gave Geneseo possession of the basketball on its side of the floor.
Ethan Radue in-bounded to Himmelman and got the basketball back, but was unable to knock down a 10-foot jumper and the game went to overtime.
Luke Snyder converted 3-for-7 free-throw attempts late in overtime for the Leafs to help his team take a 60-56 advantage with 19 seconds remaining, and it was enough to eventually hold on for the victory.
Himmelman finished the game with 27 points and nine rebounds, both game highs, as the Warriors were unable to find an answer defensively.
"I was really proud of our kids for battling back," Sterling coach Jim Preston said. "Himmelman is a load down low. At times we did a good job on him; we tried to do a couple of different things. But credit to them, at the end of the game they made one more play than we did."
Rehmert was key in leading the Warriors' charge from behind in the second half. The senior scored 15 of his team-high 20 points in the second half and overtime.
"He does some really good things for us," Preston said. "He holds us together at times. He does a good job of asserting himself on both ends, and we need that with some younger kids on the team. He shows good senior leadership."
A big reason as to why Himmelman was able to be successful was the patience of Geneseo's guards passing up shots to feed him the basketball. Geneseo had 16 assists on 22 field goals.
"We were really patient," Himmelman said. "They sagged down a lot early in the possessions, and we did a good job of working it around the arc until we could feed it in."
Sterling Thornton and Joe Brouilette each added 14 points for the Warriors.