On the night where Alex Gezo stepped on the Oak Harbor court one last time, the senior hit a corner 3-pointer as time expired to give the Rockets a 46-44 Sandusky Bay Conference Bay division win over Edison on Friday.
When the teams met on Feb. 3 in Milan, it was the Chargers — who saw their six-game win streak come to an end, who came away with a 44-43 win.
The Rockets (18-4 overall, 9-3 SBC Bay) had chances before Gezo's 3-pointer to take a lead. Aric McAtee stole a pass at mid-court for the Edison's 18th turnover of the night, but Oak Harbor missed three shots on the other end. The Chargers (15-7, 7-5) committed their 19th and final turnover on the other end with 56.3 seconds left.
The Rockets used a timeout and held the ball all the way down to 14.7 seconds left, when Oak Harbor coach Eric Sweet used another timeout. Oak Harbor was a bit sloppy before Gezo was found in the corner, just in front of the Rockets' student section for the win.
"The play we actually drew up was not executed well at all," Sweet said. "Edison came out in a zone defense after we had drew up a man set. We thought about taking our last timeout because we had enough time. We found our shooter in the corner and in a zone, that can happen."
Edison coach Kyle Hammond said sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other team.
"Give Gezo a ton of credit," he said. "That is a huge shot on senior night. Oak Harbor is a really good team and they are well-coached. They deserved to win."
Edison led, 25-23, at halftime, but two free throws from Gavin Schaeffer and scores from James Hill on an offensive rebound and Carson Ehrhardt pushed the lead to 31-23. After a Sweet timeout, Jac Alexander hit a triple, and Clay Schulte made four free throws to slice the lead to one point with 3:06 left in the third quarter.
Larry Kessler responded on the other end with a triple for the Chargers, but Gezo scored on a putback, Smith hit a short jumper, and McAtee scored down low to give Oak Harbor its first lead. Edison committed seven turnovers in the first seven minutes of the third quarter.
"We definitely turned it over too much," Hammond said. "But I am proud of how our kids battled on the road. Our team played a great game, but we came up a little short."
But, Kessler was again good from 3, pushing Edison ahead, 37-36, after three quarters. A 3-pointer from Gezo gave the Rockets a lead in the fourth quarter, but Ehrhardt scored to tie the game, and a 3-point play from Bryce Roberts allowed the Chargers to regain the lead.
Smith and Schaeffer exchanged buckets before McAtee drove the lane and hit a five-foot jumper, getting Oak Harbor within 44-43 with 2:10 left.
Edison scored the first eight points of the game before the Rockets responded. Oak Harbor was within 12-7, but a 3 from Ehrhardt gave the Chargers an eight-point after eight minutes.
A 3 from Brady Patterson in the second quarter extended the Edison lead to 23-14 — its biggest of the game. But, Alexander scored seven straight points for the Rockets and Smith connected on two free throws to slice the Edison lead to 25-23 at halftime.
"Edison does not play a high-tempo offense and we tried to get some things going," Sweet said. "They are long and they are patient. They keep you in the 40s. We like to get out and run a bit and we did. I think we missed some opportunities at some shots."
Edison had rallied from 12 points down in the game three weeks ago.
"These two teams are very close and very similar," Hammond said. "Oak Harbor is going to be a tough team to get out of the tournament. I hope we play well enough to give ourselves a chance to play them again. The tournament is another game."
Schaeffer topped Edison with nine points while grabbing six rebounds. Roberts had eight points and 13 rebounds while Hill tallied eight points and eight rebounds.
"I am very happy with where our team is right now," Hammond said. "They keep battling and they are a great group of kids."
The teams have the potential to play in a district title game in two weeks, but both will have to navigate a tough Division III district at Norwalk to get there.
The Rockets are the No. 2 seed and await the Willard-Crestview winner in a March 2 sectional title game. No. 4-seeded Edison faces Lakota (2-20) at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Shelby High School in a sectional semifinal.