Hurricanes hang on to beat Columbia in OT

Published: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 12:04 a.m.

What looked like a Gainesville runaway early in the second period Friday night in the Purple Palace certainly didn't end like it as visiting Columbia rained 3-pointers from all corners.

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Gainesville's Kevin Bolen (23) and Ronte Oates battle for a rebound with Columbia's Darrell Jones on Friday night.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer

One to tie the game at the end of three quarters. Another to send the game into overtime.

But with two of their starters fouled out and led by an outstanding effort from senior center Kevin Bolen, who finished with a game-high 28 points with 11 rebounds, the Hurricanes were able to hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold off the Tigers, 75-70, in a District 2-6A boys basketball game.

Bolen, who hit 11 of 14 from the floor, and sophomore guard Rudy Bibb-Boyd, who had 17 points, did most of the scoring for Gainesville in OT, hitting on six of 10 free throws to preserve the victory in a game in which the Hurricanes led by as much as 16 points early in the second.

The victory improved Gainesville to 7-1 on the season and 4-0 in District 2-6A while Columbia dropped to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the district. The Tigers, who had 13 3-pointers with nine in the second and third periods combined, were led by senior Robert Dace, who had 23 points and a game-high five 3s.

“We got a little complacent I guess once we got up on them,” said GHS coach Kelly Beckham. “You have to play hard all the time. I'm really proud of the kids. The game could have easily gone the other direction.”

Down 24-8 early in the second, Columbia began trimming the deficit toward the end of the first half, down just 12 (29-17) at the half, limiting the Hurricanes to just nine points in the second after GHS had sprinted out to a 20-point first quarter.

Jordan Coppock, who finished with 16 points for Columbia, hit one of his four 3-pointers to tie the game at 35-all with 3:10 left in the third. A 6-0 run gave GHS the lead once again, but the Tigers responded and Kelvin Jonas hit a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to end the third, tying it again at 42-all.

The 'Canes, behind a fastbreak layup from Bibb-Boyd and inside basket from Bolen, opened a nine-point lead (57-48) with 2:35 to play. But four of the next five field goals by Columbia were 3-pointers, including Dace's rainbow shot with two seconds to play, sending the game into overtime at 63-all.

The Tigers never led in the extra period as a basket from Mark McGraw gave GHS a 70-66 lead with two minutes remaining. The 'Canes stretched it to six on Bolen's two free throws before Tre Simmons hit his only 3-pointer for Columbia, pulling the Tigers to within three (73-70) with 4.6 seconds left. A desperation foul led to two successful free throws by Bibb-Boyd for the final margin.

“We haven't shot the ball like that all year, although we have taken plenty of 3s,” said Columbia coach Horace Jefferson. “I was proud of the effort. We had a tough week this week with kids not doing what they were supposed to do. We sat out three starters. One came in late, and the other two didn't play at all. Would it have made a difference? I don't know, but I was proud of the kids that played.

“It showed me we can go deep on the bench. Tonight was the first time we started this lineup. Three of my kids played 32 minutes tonight — (Darrell) Jones, Jonas and Coppock. I am so proud of the kids, they could have rolled over and died down 16 points. They were resilient.”

Bibb-Boyd also had 10 rebounds and junior Ike Smith had 14 points, with two 3-pointers, 11 rebounds and five assists. McGraw had 11 points. Bolen scored 19 of his points in the second half, including OT.

“They are all great kids, they work extremely hard, they have earned what they have right now for sure,” said Beckham, whose team will play Orlando Olympia today at 6:45 p.m. at the second annual Team Mighty Ike Shootout at Williston, which features 14 teams in seven games beginning at 10 this morning. “He (Bolen) played really well in the second half. That is what you want from your seniors, they have been there and done it. I'm just really proud of our guys and the way they fought.”

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