St. Paul scored 16 straight points in the first quarter, only for the Wildcats to respond with the next 11 points.
There were 14 lead changes, nine ties, and a desperation 3-pointer from 60 feet for New London that nearly went in at the end of the first overtime that could have won the game.
But, despite growing tired as the game went on, the Flyers ripped off 10 straight points in the second overtime and fended off the Wildcats, 84-78, in double overtime in Firelands Conference action.
"I thought our kids really hung in there," St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. "It was a game of runs and stretches. We had a chance to win it at the end of regulation. Our kids were aware of situations. It was a great game by both teams."
St. Paul improved to 11-5 overall and 7-3 in FC play, and has won five of its last six games entering a home game vs. Monroeville tonight.
"We have been preaching to the kids to be tough in tough situations," Smith said. "That does not necessarily mean pushing people around. Toughness means doing things that are tough when you are tired or things are against you."
With a 68-68 deadlock after the first overtime, Ashton Carruthers opened the second overtime with the 12th 3-pointer of the night for New London (8-7, 5-5). But that is when the Flyers took over. Nick Winslow responded with a 3 to tie the game and stole a pass on the other end and scored for a 73-71 lead.
The Wildcats, who drilled 10 3s in the first half, seemingly fell in love too much with the deep shot. Miss after miss, despite good looks, doomed New London. A miss from the Wildcats led to an Alex Kashian bucket off of an assist from Winslow. Another empty possession by New London allowed Treg Smith a layup, forcing the Wildcats into a timeout.
A 12th turnover on the night by New London led to a fast break for St. Paul. Jake Griffin was fouled and split the two free throws. Karson Howell connected on a 3 for the Wildcats, ending the 10-0 Flyers run over 2:05.
But, four points was the closest New London got. Nick Winslow and Nate Winslow each split two free throws for St. Paul before Carruthers scored off of an offensive rebound to cut the St. Paul lead to 80-76. But, Griffin and Kashian each made two free throws to finish off the wild win for the Flyers.
"We just did not make shots," New London coach Tom Howell said. "The shots we took are shots I want our guys to take. The shots we missed — they don’t miss those shots sometimes."
A back-and-forth fourth quarter set up the wacky ending. St. Paul took a 52-44 lead off of Nate Winslow's layup with 7:07 left in regulation, but the Wildcats charged back. A 10-2 run by New London — capped on a driving layup by Carruthers — knotted the game at 54-all. Jacob Allen split two free throws then scored after a pair of offensive rebounds to give New London a three-point lead.
But, Kashian and Griffin scored consecutive buckets to push St. Paul back ahead, 58-57. The lead changed hands twice more before Allen's bucket with 1:38 left tied the game at 61. St. Paul opted to hold for the last shot and Griffin's 3 from the top of arc was no good. Smith grabbed the offensive rebound, but his shot rimmed out, sending the game to overtime.
"I actually thought Treg's shot was going to go in," Smith said. "It just rimmed out. We have to watch and learn. Maybe we can do something better the next time."
Once in overtime, Allen again scored and split two free throws for a 64-61 lead before the Flyers responded. Smith scored off of an offensive rebound before Nick Winslow intercepted a pass and took it in for a layup.
Howell made two free throws and a layup by Colin Cole pushed the Wildcats ahead, 68-65 as the clock clicked away. St. Paul opted not to use a timeout and Nick Winslow's deep 3-point attempt was no good.
Griffin grabbed the offensive rebound, stepped behind the line near the corner and made the 3. Ben Crawshaw took the inbounds pass and threw up a long 3 that clanked off the backboard and rim, but to no avail.
"They missed the first shot, but got the offensive rebound and made the biggest shot," Howell said. "One of the biggest things we had trouble with was rebounding. They got second-chance shots and took advantage of it. Give St. Paul a lot of credit."
Crawshaw scored the first five points of the game, but the Flyers responded with the next 16 points over 3:48 of game. But once the Wildcats scored, it was hard to stop them. New London reeled off 11 points in a row to tie the game. A bucket from Kashian on an assist from Nick Winslow gave St. Paul a 18-16 lead after one quarter.
The Flyers finished off a 9-0 run by scoring the first seven points of the second quarter, but New London's deep shots were just warming up. The Wildcats made six 3s in the second quarter, including one from Jaylin Moffit to take a 33-32 lead. Later, Crawshaw's fifth 3 of the first half drew New London within 37-36 at halftime.
"New London shot it very well," Smith said. "We played some zone defense and we played some man. They found the open guy. We knew they could not keep making them at that rate. I thought we did a better job in the second half of closing out and controlling their dribble penetration."
The teams played evenly for the first part of the third quarter. A jumper by Allen tied the game at 42 with 3:29 left in the third quarter, but Ian Kashian made two free throws, Nick Winslow split two free throws, Nate Winslow scored off of an offensive rebound, and a layup from Alex Kashian helped the Flyers to a 49-42 lead after three quarters.
Allen paced the Wildcats with 19 points and six rebounds while Crawshaw and Carruthers each tallied 17 points. Carruthers pulled down 11 rebounds, but Crawshaw was held scoreless after halftime.
"We might have fell in love with the 3 at times," Howell said. "I told the guys that we shot a little more 3s than normal, but if they are open, shoot it. Tonight, some went in and some did not."
Nick Winslow finished with 28 points and seven rebounds for St. Paul. Griffin tallied 21 points and six rebounds, Alex Kashian put up 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Nate Winslow contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.
"Nick had us going down the stretch a bit," Smith said. "I liked his aggressiveness. Jake really picked it up for us. We had good contributions from other people. It is not always about scoring to make you effective."
Howell added 12 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats, who return to action Tuesday at South Central.
New London won the junior varsity game, 48-37. Parker Ruble led the ‘Cats with 16 points, while Herman Grant had 13 and Curtis Joppeck scored 12.
Jordan Shepherd paced St. Paul with 13 points and Grant Houck added 11.
ST. PAUL (11-5, 7-3)
Treg Smith 3-0—6, Jake Griffin 7-3—21, Nick Winslow 9-7—28, Nate Winslow 4-1—10, Ian Kashian 1-3—5, Alex Kashian 5-2—12, Justin Hammersmith 1-0—2. TOTALS 30-16—84.
NEW LONDON (8-7, 5-5)
Colin Cole 2-0—5, Ben Crawshaw 6-0—17, Ashton Carruthers 7-1—17, Jaylin Moffit 3-0—8, Karson Howell 4-2—12, Jacob Allen 7-4—19. TOTALS 29-7—78.
St. Paul 18 19 12 12 7 16 — 84
N. London 16 10 16 19 7 10 — 78
3-point FGs: (STP); Griffin 4, Ni. Winslow 3, Na. Winslow (NL) Crawshaw 5, Moffitt 2, Howell 2, Carruthers 2, Cole, Allen
JV: New London, 48-37