La PORTE — Close losses have been a common theme for La Porte this season.
Tuesday night was no exception.
Even though they led by five points with 23.4 seconds left in regulation, the Slicers couldn’t quite close it out. Bryant Robinson’s deep 3-pointer from the top of the key tied it at 62 with 1.5 seconds remaining and forced overtime, where pesky Goshen made a few more plays down the stretch in handing La Porte a disheartening 72-71 home loss.
“We’ve talked about it quite a bit,” said La Porte coach Kyle Benge, whose club's last two setbacks have been by a combined four points. “We’ve had some games where it’s been late-game situations where we’ve let games slip away. We’ve benefited where we’ve hit some shots. And tonight, up five with 13 seconds to go, you’d imagine we’d close it out. But give Goshen credit, they made plays towards the end.”
After Garrott Ott-Large’s two free throws with 23.4 seconds to go, the Slicers (11-9) led 62-57. But Robinson, who led the RedHawks (8-10) with 25 points, including the clutch trey to force OT, had an uncontested layup that made it 62-59 with 13.1 seconds left. Goshen then fouled to prolong the game, and Garrott Ott-Large missed the front end of the one-and-one, leaving the door ajar.
And the visitors pounced. Robinson nailed the game-tying 3-pointer. After a timeout, La Porte had a last-second chance, but Grant Ott-Large’s shot from the left wing was well short.
In overtime, neither team had more than a two-point cushion. The lead traded hands a few times and Porter Revoir had what proved to be the game-winning basket with 18 seconds left. After a La Porte timeout, it had a few chances to take the lead back late, but Grant Ott-Large missed a pair of close, but contested shots in the last six seconds. Goshen was then fouled and missed both free throws, but there was only 1.2 seconds to go, and the Slicers’ last-second, half-court heave was just after the buzzer.
Earlier in the fourth, La Porte also was ahead five on a couple of occasions, including 57-52 with 2:49 left. The RedHawks (8-10) attacked inside offensively, though, and pounded the offensive glass.
“Things we need to focus on are when you get into a sectional game, these are moments where you’re up five, you’re up seven, good teams, great teams, they get that stop,” Benge said. “They push that lead from five to 11. We’re getting there. It was all about just execution tonight and we didn’t execute.”
La Porte’s Drake Gunn poured in a game-high 27 points, before fouling out in OT, including 10 in the second period when his team led by as many as four and led 31-28 at the break. Garrott Ott-Large posted 21 points, drilling 4-of-8 behind the arc, before also fouling out in overtime. Freshman Grant Ott-Large netted 12.
“Drake was outstanding,” Benge said. “Offensively and defensively, he was all over the place. Garrott had a nice bounce-back night hitting some 3s. Offensively, it wasn’t the issue. It was just getting stops. We didn’t. You let a team stick around like that, that’s kind of what happens.”
The Slicers were without Peyton Marker, who missed his second straight game with a concussion.
Besides Robinson, who fouled out early in overtime, Goshen’s Revoir tallied 23 points and freshman Drew Hogan chipped in 10. Revoir registered 15 points in the fourth and overtime, doing most of his damage inside.
“We’ve just got to learn to finish games off,” Benge said.
La Porte’s junior varsity won 47-34. Jay Tucker guided the Slicers with 16 points and Grant Gresham scored 10.
Goshen 72, La Porte 71 (OT)
The Slicers’ Drake Gunn and Garrott Ott-Large combined for 48 points.