Seneca coach Will King has been saying it for some time now, that his Indians are a special team. A cohesive unit loaded with clutch performers that has carried his team all season, King’s assessment of his team was only strengthened on Saturday when the Indians pulled out a thrilling 51-47 overtime victory over the Mount Vernon Mountaineers in the Class 3, District 12 championship game.
“It is a special team,” King said. “You look at our floor general Kyler Ng, who is just tremendous on the floor and on the floor and he does a ton for us. But then you look at everybody else too. If you look at our scorers all year we’ve been balanced all year. We’ve had different guys score — different guys hit shots. They all do so many parts and they all get along so good. And they’re just such great kids that it’s just a special team.”
Where to start? The Mountaineers led almost the entire way, but never could shake the resilient Indians, who stayed within striking distance for the duration of the contest. Chandler Myers carried a Mountaineers team that saw just four players score in the contest. Myers racked up 28 points.
But it still wasn’t enough. Players stepped up all over the floor for the Indians, particularly from behind the arc as they knocked down 10 3-pointers in the contest. In fact, the Indians closed the final 11:40 of regulation making nothing but 3-pointers, accounting for 21-straight points from behind the arc.
“I know every coach brags on their kids, but man, my kids, they work so hard,” King said. “They battled hard all year, they stuck to the gameplan. We knew it would be a battle.”
After trailing 22-17 at halftime, the Indians came alive in the third when they found their stroke from long range. Junior Seth Harris buried a trey with 4:23 remaining in the third to finally draw the Indians even at 24-24. That was the first of two dime’s for Harris in the period, and Ng followed with one with 1:00 to go in the quarter to put the Indians in front, 30-29.
The Indians then went on to collect four 3-pointers in the fourth, as Ng hit two, Harris one and Bradley Jumper one. With the score tied at 42 at the end of regulation, Jumper would go on to hit one more key three, his fourth and final one of the game, with 1:24 left in overtime to make it 47-45, Indians. Ng later hit a pair of free throws to help seal it with 13 seconds left.
“We’ve got shooters, and I think it’s just a matter of time (until) our shooters get heated up,” King said. “They’ve hit on that all year long, so I know at a time they’re going to hit big shots, and they did tonight.”
Page 2 of 2 - Ng finished with 15 points to lead the Indians, followed closely by Jumper with 13 and Harris with 10, while Logan St. Clair added seven, Elias Roelfsema four and Chance Smith two.
Shane Williams added nine for the Mountaineers, while Zane Phillips tossed in seven and Skylar Phillips three.
Seneca made it to the district title game after edging Clever 54-43 on Friday.
The Indians (21-7) will move on to face Strafford (23-4) at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Baptist Bible College in Springfield.