Chelsea Clips Tecumseh in OT for Regional Title
It was one for the ages.
Two league rivals battling toe-to-toe for the regional title, and it was Chelsea that came out on top with a nail-biting 67-65 overtime win over SEC rival Tecumseh.
Both teams entered the game with long droughts for a regional title. Chelsea had not won a regional title since 2000 and Tecumseh had not held the regional trophy since 1990, so one of the teams was going to snap its streak Wednesday night.
Chelsea had beaten the Indians twice during the regular season and the third time did not come easy.
A pair of Regan Plank baskets and two by Joey Cabana gave the Bulldogs the early lead, but the Indians answered and took the lead late in the first. Jake Stephens hit a layup just before the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 15-14 lead after one.
Chelsea would build a six-point lead with a Matt Blanton triple, but Tecumseh answered with a triple to cut the lead to 33-30 at the half.
The teams would go back and forth in the third when an acrobatic layup by Cabana gave the Bulldogs a seven-point lead, but Tecumseh ended the third with four straight to cut the lead to 49-46 after three.
Both teams had several players in foul trouble and that would be key down the stretch.
Chelsea led by one when Blanton hit a deep triple for a 59-55 lead with 1:57 left.
Tecumseh cut the to one when the Bulldogs missed a free throw, but Blanton was there for a rebound and putback to put Chelsea up 62-59 with 57.2 left.
The Indians sank a pair of free throws and forced a turnover and was fouled trailing 62-61 with 48.4 left. They made one of two to tie the game at 62 and got the offensive rebound of the miss. They would miss the final shot to send the game into overtime.
Both teams had two starters foul out and got key plays from their bench.
Braden Watson, though he did not score came up with three huge rebounds and a charging call in the fourth quarter and overtime for the Bulldogs.
Tecumseh struck first off the opening tip and then split a pair of free throws for a 65-62 lead with 2:42 left in overtime. That would be their last points of the game.
Cabana hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 65-64 and Chelsea went to the line for a chance at the lead but missed both to keep it a one-point game with 1:30 left.
Cabana would put Chelsea on top 66-65 with a basket with 39.7 left.
After a Tecumseh miss, Drew Blanton split a pair of free throws for a 67-65 lead with 19.7 left.
The Indians had one chance but lost the ball out of bounds with 1.5 left in the game. They stole the long inbounds pass, but the desperation half-court shot was off, and the Bulldogs rushed the floor to celebrate.
Matt Blanton finished with a team-high 24 points including 16 in the second half.
Cabana finished with 15 points, four of which came in the overtime period.
Jake Stephens finished with 14 points before fouling out, Plank chipped in with six points, Drew Blanton six points, and Zach MacIntosh two.
The Bulldogs advance to the D2 state quarterfinals Tuesday night against Romulus Summit Academy at Milan at 7:00 PM.
Photos by Mike Williamson