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Boys basketball: Litch wins OT battle of No. 1’s

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Litchfield senior guard Zach Kinny pulls up at the free throw line to cash a jump shot over Melrose 6-4 senior guard Scottie Stone in the first half on Friday night at Litchfield. The Dragons led at intermission 22-18 after trailing 8-1 at the start.

LITCHFIELD — Former No. 1 Litchfield outscored this week’s No. 1 14-8 in overtime to dunk Melrose 65-59 on Friday before a nearly full-house.

The Dragons’ Basketball Alumni Night crowd was treated to some first-class entertainment as the Class AA powers played up to their rank (Litchfield is No. 6 this week).

The Dragons’ Dylan Koll tied the game in regulation, 51-51, making the front end of a 1-and-1 with :04 left.

The Dragons jumped out in front early in the extra period and held on to improve to 3-1. Melrose is now 4-1.

The Dutch shot to an 8-1 lead, but the Dragons battled back to lead 22-18 at half. But in this see-saw battle, Melrose outscored the host team 14-4 out of the second-half locker room to go up 32-26.

It went back and forth like that right until the end of regulation. Litch led by six with a minute left but the Dutchmen surged off Dragon turnovers to go up 51-50 with 14 second left.

Koll, who was out the overtime loss at Morris/Chokio-Alberta last Friday, returned to the lineup to supply 10 points and 5 assists, as well as the game-tying free throw.

Senior 6-foot-3 forward Riley Pater came on big in the second half scoring 13 of his 18 points post-intermission. Zach Whitchurch delivered 15 points along with 7 rebounds and Zach Kinny 13 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Sophmore guard Alex Henricks also had a big game with 7 points and 6 rebounds.

Pater, Whitchurch and Koll each scored 4 points in OT.

Melrose looked every bit deserving of their tip-top ranking this week matching up with the 2011-12 Class AA state runner-up.

The Dutch rely heavily on their talented guards 6-4 Scottie Stone (19 points) and 6-1 Isaac Sawyer (18 points) to lead the charge. Ryan Elfering followed with nine points and 6-foot-5 Mitch Reller grabbed 9 rebounds.     

Litchfield 65, Melrose 59

Melrose (4-1)    18  33    8 — 59

Litchfield (3-1)    22  29  14 — 65

MELROSE – 27-55 FG (5-20 3-pt); 4-9 FT; 26 rebounds; 11 fouls … Scoring: Seth Noll 5, Isaac Sawyer 18, Ryan Elfering 9, Scottie Stone 19, Mitch Reller 4, Mitch Niehaus 4 … 3-point shots: Noll, Sawyer 2, Stone 2 … Rebound leaders: Reller 9, Niehaus 7 … Assist leaders: Sawyer 4 … Steal leaders: Noll 4

LITCHFIELD – 28-43 FG (4-11 3-pt); 5-11 FT; 29 rebounds; 11 fouls … Scoring: Zach Whitchurch 15, Dylan Koll 10, Zach Kinny 13, Alex Henricks 7, Andrew Schneider 2, Riley Pater 18 … 3-point shots: xx … Rebound leaders: Henricks 6, Whitchurch 7… Assist leaders: Kinny 5, Koll 5 … Steal leaders: Kinny 3 … Blocked shots: Pater 3

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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