Morse Coach Samuel Hayes looked delighted Saturday afternoon. “What an atmosphere,” he said of the Portland Expo.
When you provide fans with a double-overtime thriller, complete with last-second shots from both teams, the crowd tends to get quite a bit electrified.
Morse withstood a never-say-die Lake Region team and earned a 63-61 victory in a Western Class B boys’ basketball quarterfinal.
No. 2 Morse (15-4) moves on to the semifinals against Poland. No. 7 Lake Region finished at 10-10.
Sam Smith gave Lake Region a 61-60 lead by making two free throws with 17 seconds left in the second overtime. It was the Lakers’ first lead since early in the fourth quarter.
Morse called a timeout and designed a play for Liam McDonough.
He came through with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with three seconds left.
“I went into the huddle (during the timeout) and said, ‘Coach, if you want me to take a 3, I’ll take it,’ ” McDonough said.
Hayes’ response: “If you’re feeling it, drill it.”
Lake Region Coach J.P. Yorkey could only watch. “I thought we defended it well.
“(Ethan) Winglass didn’t get the ball. The shot was contested. He just made it.”
Winglass played a strong game, leading Morse with 18 points. Casey Watson scored 13 and McDonough added 11, including three 3-pointers.
Mark Williams paced Lake Region with several steals and 16 points. Sam Smith scored 12 and Nate Smith added 10.
Morse built a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers rallied with furious defense.
Williams tipped in a rebound with three seconds left in regulation, tying the game 45-45.
“We don’t have to foul late to come back because we have the ability to make things happen (on defense),” Yorkey said.
In the first overtime, Morse beat the press with a long pass to Chris Paulus for a dunk and a 54-51 lead with 18 seconds left.
But Lake Region found Sam Smith open in the corner, and his 3-pointer forced the game to yet another overtime.
“They hit the big shots every single time,” Hayes said.
Morse went ahead 60-54 in the second overtime but committed two turnovers, and the Lakers rallied to move into the lead.
Then McDonough called for the ball and ended it.
“I didn’t expect Lake Region to be that good,” McDonough said.
“I thought we had the game won (before the second overtime). Give them credit.”
Hayes applauded the Lakers, too, but added, “I liked us gutting it out … We felt the momentum change (after the first overtime) and it’s a credit to our kids for not folding.”
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: