Highland's Alex Jaworski puts up a shot against Kent Roosevelt's Luke Larkin in the first half of Friday's game at Kent Roosevelt High School. (NICK CAMMETT/GAZETTE)
KENT — The Highland boys basketball team fought, thrived, failed, battled back and in the end persevered in a tough road environment Friday night to defeat Kent Roosevelt 67-63 in double overtime.
No matter what the Hornets (6-6, 3-4) threw at the Rough Riders (3-10, 0-7), Roosevelt seemed to have the answer in junior wing Zachary Common, who poured in a game-high 33 points.
The Hornets countered with a balanced attack, as senior power forward Ryan Chema led the way with 18 points. Shooting guard Cole Tessena added 16, center Alex Jaworski had 13 and point guard Jake Osborne added 11.
Chema kicked off the final extra session with a bucket and then went 3-for-4 at the line over the first 90 seconds as the Hornets went on 7-0 run.
“It’s great after the past couple of losses,” he said. “We just wanted to come out and win tonight and we did whatever it took to get it done.”
Common answered the run with a pair of free throws and 3-pointer to bring the score to 62-57 in favor of Highland with 1:33 left.
With 36 seconds left, sophomore Raheem Howard brought the Rough Riders back within two points at 63-61, but two strong defensive stands and four straight foul shots by Jaworski clinched the win.
“We had a long week of practice because we didn’t have a game Tuesday and that led to this win,” Osborne said. “We’ve been working on playing tougher defense and making sure we aren’t letting easy buckets, and that really helped at the end.”
Osborne was key in getting the Hornets back in the game and forcing the first overtime. Facing a 41-38 deficit midway through the fourth quarter, the point guard drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing and drew a foul on Common. Osborne made the free throw to put his team ahead.
Moments later Common came up big, drilling a 3-pointer to give the Rough Riders a 47-45 lead with one minute left.
Highland battled back and with less than six seconds left Osborne inbounded the ball to Chema, who hit a baseline jumper to tie the game. Common’s jumper as the buzzer sounded bounced off the rim to force overtime.
“We really concentrated on getting just a little tougher on defense and that mentality carried us through a game where we could have collapsed a lot of times,” Highland coach Adam Cestaro said.
Both teams battled back and forth in the first overtime, with the Hornets up three after Tessena split a pair of free throws. But with four seconds left Tessena fouled Common on a 3-pointer, and he hit all three free throws to force the second overtime.
“(Common) was really consistent tonight,” Cestaro said. “He’s good in the mid-range, which makes him tough to defend. We had to really work hard on him. I felt like we did a pretty good job and he still had 33.”
Highland won the junior varsity game 51-49 in overtime. Freshman Griffin Albright broke a 47-47 tie in OT with four straight free throws when Roosevelt was called for calling a timeout it didn’t have. Albright led the Hornets with 20 points.
Contact John Urchek at email@example.com.
Highland 67, Kent Roosevelt 63 (2 OT)
HIGHLAND 7 13 15 12 5 15 — 67
ROOSEVELT 5 10 18 14 5 11 — 63
Highland — Bryce Profitt 3-2-9, Ryan Chema 5-7-18, Alex Jaworski 4-5-13, Cole Tessena 5-2-16, Jake Osborne 3-3-11, Tommy Williams 0-0-0, Connor Klein 0-0-0, Robert Huttner 0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-19-67.
Roosevelt — Anthony Sawyer 0-0-0, Luke Larkin 2-1-5, Zachary Holman 2-0-5, Zachary Common 10-11-33, Kristian Daetwyler 2-0-4, Carson Lane 1-0-3, Xavier Thomas 0-0-0, Raheem Howard 4-2-10, Desmeal Leigh 0-0-0, Tre Moxley 1-1-3. TOTALS: 22-15-63.
3-point goals – Tessena 4, Osbrone 2, Profitt, Chema, Common 2, Lane, Holman. Rebounds — Highland 31 (Klein 7), Kent Roosevelt 30 (Common 7). Assists — Highland 15 (Tessena 4), Kent Roosevelt 6 (Common 3). Records — Highland (6-6, 3-4), Kent Roosevelt (3-10, 0-7). Junior varsity — Highland 51, Kent Roosevelt 49 (OT).