By Ben Sheridan / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
When a game gets into the closing moments, and it’s close, there seems to be a group of players that a team needs to step up consistently in order to secure a win — the guys who’ve been there before.
“The seniors — that was their last moment on a Tandem basketball court together, and for that crowd and atmosphere to be so high, just the energy in the building, that was something I won’t forget,” said Tandem basketball coach Sampson Dale.
The Badgers’ seniors — in particular Kobi Copeland and Dean Lockley — stepped up in a big way and helped lead them to a victory over Regents in overtime 69-62, the latest installment of a budding crosstown rivalry.
The game was back and forth during the first half, but in the second quarter the Badgers got a big injection of energy with Copeland tossed up a pass to Lockley for a huge alley-oop that helped their team take a 25-23 lead to the break. Copeland and Lockley went on to score 18 and 26 points respectively, and they were far from done with the dramatics after the alley-oop.
In the third, Tandem carried over some late momentum from the second, and extended their lead, going up 38-30 at the end of the third. It seemed like the Badgers were getting ready to take control of the game.
Regents refused to let that happen, going on a roll to tie it up and eventually take a late 49-46 lead. Regents’ Landon Swingler had six of his 15 points in the quarter, while Lucas Rose had seven of his 12 in the fourth.
“I can’t say enough about our effort, that’s one of the things we talked about before the game, regardless of the situation regardless of the score, we’ve got to play hard to the whistle all the time, and that’s what the guys did for us tonight,” said Regents coach Travis Johnson.
Regents held a 49-46 lead until near the very end of regulation when Tandem turned to one of those seniors. Kobi Copeland rose to the occasion, knocking down a three to tie it with roughly fifteen seconds to go. Regents’ Drew Martin nailed a go-ahead three in the closing seconds to answer, but Copeland stepped up again, banking in a three to tie the game as time expired.
“I saw the first shot go in, then they made their shot and I just looked at the time, and I just went fast I got the ball and just put it up,” said Copeland.
In overtime, it appeared all the momentum and a raucous home crowd was with the Badgers and it showed as they went on a tear after the end of regulation. They played stifling defense and Lockley went for nine of his 26 points in overtime, helping the Badgers secure a huge senior night victory in dramatic fashion.
The Badgers will take on Fredericksburg Christian Friday before starting Delaney Athletic Conference tournament play while Regents faces Covenant in another crosstown clash the same night.