Wakefield boys’ basketball coach Dexter Cooley said senior Rakewon Hall stepped up and proved to be the team’s emotional leader as he carried the Wolverines to a 61-55 win against Sanderson in overtime Friday.
Wakefield’s guards put the pressure on Sanderson early in the game with a full-court press, leading the Spartans guards into traps for turnovers and easy layups on the other end.
“In the beginning they played a whole lot tougher than we did,” Sanderson coach Mike Shaw said. “They dominated the boards. I think it caught up to us in the end.”
Sanderson was able to make adjustments in the second quarter and tied the game at 24 points each with two minutes left in the half.
From that moment on, the game’s complexion changed and neither team was able to create much distance.
The lead changed hands several times in the fourth quarter. With two minutes left in regulation, Wakefield’s Harvey Griffin was able to tie the game at 51 points apiece.
On the next possession, Sanderson chose to hold on for the last shot. After the Spartans called a timeout with 15.3 seconds on the clock, Reggie Traywick dribbled into a Wakefield double-team, turning the ball over.
“I probably made a mistake, leaving those guys in there the whole second half,” Shaw said.
The ball ended up in the hands of Wakefield’s Eric Crawford with 1.3 seconds left on the clock and the game-deciding free throw. He missed the front end of the one-and-one, pushing the game into overtime.
After a free throw from Sanderson’s Parker Fennema gave the Spartans a one-point lead in the extra period, Hall responded on the other end with a put-back on his own miss to give Wakefield the lead. He went on to drain two free throws on the Wolverines’ next possession.
Free throws helped extend Wakefield’s lead in the extra period and Sanderson couldn’t respond on its end to keep the game close.
Hall finished the game with 18 points and seven rebounds.
“He’s our senior leader,” Cooley said. “He did everything he needed to do for us to win this game That is by far his best and biggest game in a Wakefield uniform.”