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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Triple the heartbreak

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hunter Turner just could not buy a 3-point basket.

Despite launching shot after shot from beyond the arc all night long, they would just not fall down.

However, just because the normally sharp-shooting senior was ice-cold from downtown, it didn't prevent him from coming up aces from the charity stripe when his team needed him the most.

Turner went nine-for-10 from the free throw line after the fourth period ended, helping the Hayti Indians to a 67-55 triple-overtime win over the Thayer Bobcats March 7 in the Class 2 sectionals at E.T. Peters Gymnasium in Poplar Bluff.

It was Hayti's (20-9) second straight overtime win, this one after the Indians edged Holcomb in the district championship game the prior week, setting up their clash with the Bobcats (23-7) for the right to move on to Dexter and the quarter-final round.

And neither side gave so much as an inch all night long in this one.

The game was knotted at 48-all after the second overtime, before the Indians, who were only one-for-17 from the 3-point line on the night, were finally able to open up some breathing room against Thayer.

Hayti closed the third OT on an 11-1 run over the course of the last 1:20 of play, including five straight free throws from Turner, as both teams limped toward the finish line weary-legged from the intense battle.

The Indians led 41-39 thanks to a Jerome Thomas dunk with 1:03 left in regulation.

But with 40 ticks remaining in the fourth, Dylan Dennis (eight points) pulled up and buried a big-time jumper for the Cats that squared things at 41-all.

Hayti worked the ball around to plan for the last shot of the game, but the Indians turned the ball over with 9.3 seconds left.

Four seconds later, Thayer's Ricky Smith (nine points) picked up his fifth personal foul on a drive to the bucket, giving the ball back to the Indians.

Turner missed a long trey that spun out of the rim as the buzzer sounded, sending the game to an extra frame.

The first OT was certainly a low-scoring affair, as Turner hit two freebies for Hayti's only points of the stanza, while a twisting layup in the paint from Dennis were the Bobcats' only points, pushing the game into the second overtime, squared at 43-all. Hayti missed two point-blank tip-in attempts at the buzzer that could have ended things right there.

In overtime number two, Hayti built a 47-43 lead with 1:40 left.

But Thayer came roaring back on the strength of a triple off the hands of Austin Henry (15 points) and stickback of a missed shot by Levi Hargrove. Hargrove paced Thayer with 17 points in the game.

Tied at 48-all, Turner missed another long 3-point attempt near the horn and the game bounded into a third extra period.

With both teams almost out of gas, the Indians managed to sink enough free throws to derail Thayer's plans at a deep run in the Class 2 playoffs.

Thayer jumped in front 6-0 to start the game on baskets from Hargrove, Smith and Dennis.

The Indians made up some ground late in the first and trailed by only one, 12-11, after one.

The lead changed seven times in the second period, with the Bobcats ripping off six unanswered points, including a trifecta from Henry, to take a 24-22 lead to the half.

The third was just as close, with the Bobcats able to take a 33-31 advantage into the fourth period.

Brandon Childers finished with four points for Thayer, while Jeremy Cabrales logged one point for the Cats.

Thomas scored a game-high 23 points for Hayti, with Maurion Newbill finishing with 17 and Turner 14.

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