KARNS CITY — With mere seconds left to go in regulation and Karns City down by two, the Gremlins’ Taite Beighley took an inbound pass on the right sideline, drove toward the corner, then leaned into the Moniteau defense — trying to fight his way down the baseline and under the basket.
His last-gasp try smacked off the bottom of the backboard and a shrill whistle combined with a truncated zapping sound from the buzzer. It was music to the ears of all those wearing purple at the boys basketball contest on Tuesday night.
The shooting foul, which was called after a trio of Warriors converged on the hosts’ junior guard, put Beighley on the line. As the whole of the visiting student section screamed behind him, he sunk both free throws, turning assuredly to his teammates before they went in.
“They felt so good off my fingertips,” said Beighley, who finished with 31 points. “We’re used to that as a team because Kep makes us shoot those free throws after running. He knows in those game situations, it’s going to happen.
“I smiled at my boy, Micah (Rupp), after the foul, because I knew I could step up and hit them. I had that confidence in myself … I just stepped up to the line and it felt great.”
Beighley’s free throws forced overtime. He proceeded to score 11 points over the two overtime periods that followed, pulling out a 68-62 win in double overtime for Karns City (7-0).
Moniteau coach Mike Jewart disagreed with the call that wound up pushing the game back to square one after 36 minutes.
“We should’ve won this game,” he said. “Flat-out, we should’ve won this game … That was not a foul at the end (of the fourth quarter). Beighley had a big shot knocking those foul shots, give all the credit to him. No time left.
“But he wasn’t fouled. I saw my guy with hands straight up.”
The Warriors trailed for the entirety of the first half, but surged out of the break to overtake the Gremlins. They led by as much as six in the third frame and clung to a two-point edge going into the fourth quarter.
“First half, I thought we were selfish,” Jewart said. “We shared the ball a lot better in the second half and we started looking for the extra pass.”
Beighley connected on three treys in the fourth as he and Karns City traded blows with their guests.
“We’ve seen him in a couple tapes,” Jewart said. “Last couple of games, teams have taken him out. I tried three different guys on him and we couldn’t take him out of the game. Kid played a heck of a game.”
Warriors junior point guard Chason Delarosa-Rugg took the lead on three occasions in that same period, including a jumper that made it 53-51 with 0:24 to go.
The Gremlins never wavered.
“The kids really responded,” Kepple said. “Things go wrong, you get in foul trouble, you get checked out of the game … The whirlwind of emotions that happened in this game, the kids did a good job adjusting to those and playing through it.
“Everything is up and down. Everything is huge. Every basket, every foul, every turnover is multiplied.”
The building would have fallen down had Beighley hit the half-court shot as the horn sounded on the first overtime period. He scored the first basket of the second and his side went on an 8-2 run that wound up sealing the deal.
“It is what it is,” Jewart said. “It’s early in the season. We’re 3-2 now. I like our fight. This is a big loss. We needed this win, but we’ll get them at home.”
As for what Kepple thought of the call at the end of the fourth quarter, he said, “I feel like it wasn’t anything that was out of the ordinary of what they called the whole game. Both teams were going hard to the basket, both teams were getting foul calls. I think when a guy goes to the basket and there’s three guys on him, he probably got fouled one way or the other.
“I thought it was a good call.”
David Martino bucketed 16 points for the Warriors, while David Dessicino added 15. Callihan (16) and Rupp (10) also reached double figures.
David Martino 16, David Dessicino 15, Andrew Zepeda 9, Chason Delarosa-Rugg 8, Aydan Jackson 7, Colton Thomas 4, Dylan Bush 3. Totals: 25 9-13 62.
KARNS CITY 68
Taite Beighley 31, Jacob Callihan 16, Micah Rupp 10, Braden Grossman 7, Shane Peters 4. Totals: 21 17-24 68.
Moniteau 10 10 18 15 5 4 — 62
Karns City 17 7 12 17 5 10 — 68
3-point goals: Moniteau 2 (Martino 2, Bush); Karns City 5 (Beighley 4, Grossman 1)