Especially when your opponent goes nine-for-11 from the charity stripe during the game's most crucial stretch.
Taking advanatge of some rusty free throw shooting on the part of the Cotter Warriors, Salem made its baskets when it needed them the most, leading the Greyhounds to a big 48-41 overtime win in 2-2A Conference play on Jan. 13 at the Dawg Pound.
Salem (6-6, 2-5) held a 32-29 lead deep in regulation, when the Warriors found a way to move on top.
Isaac Vincent hit a big 3-pointer with 33 seconds left, and Dylan Harig managed to hit one of two free throws to lift Cotter on top 34-32 with 17 seconds left.
But J.J. Gray (nine points) worked his way through traffiic next time downcourt for Salem and hit a twisting layup with three ticks left that knotted the contest at 34-all, sending it to overtime.
In the extra frame, Hunter Medling (four points) started things off with a pair of free throws for the Hounds, followed by a big-time trey by Casey York (15 points) that gave the home team a 39-36 cushion, a lead it would not give up.
During the last minute of OT, Salem hit seven of eight free throws to maintain the lead.
A layup from Austin Perkey capped Salem's 48-41 victory.
Cotter's struggles from the free throw line really hurt the Warriors in the fourth period.
Salem opened the fourth with an inside hoop by Colby Harber (six points) and a jumper from Justus Sparks (six points) that gave the Greyhounds a slim 29-26 lead with 5:36 left to play. Both Harber and Sparks fouled out for Salem.
With a chance to even matters, the Warriors missed three straight charity tosses, while Kyndal Smith (six points), added to Salem's lead with a layup at the 3:14 mark.
But despite their woes from the line, the Warriors kept fighting and managed to hang around until Vincent hit the 3-pointer that helped Cotter survive a bit longer.
Cotter took an 11-10 lead after the first period of play and held that one-point lead, 19-18, at intermission.
The Hounds played some fierce defense in the third period, holding Cotter to just one field goal, helping Salem to a 25-21 advanatge after three periods of play.
Cory Hinrichs paced Cotter with 11 points.