Mattawan edged Kalamazoo Central 48-47 after overtime Tuesday evening, giving the Wildcats their first victory over the Maroon Giants in boys basketball since February 20, 2007. Although they will meet again in about three weeks to open district play, Tuesday’s atmosphere at Mattawan felt like a playoff game with 11 lead changes and nine ties.
Ultimately, the game-winning shot in overtime came on a baseline drive by Matt Pelak, scoring with about 10 seconds remaining. It was a deep three-pointer with four seconds to spare in the fourth quarter from Dexter Shouse that forced overtime.
Neither team had the edge until around the final two minutes of the first half, as the Wildcats finished the second quarter on an 8-0 run for a 23-16 halftime lead. Kalamazoo Central kept Mattawan scoreless for the first part of the third quarter and got back within one, but the Maroon Giants wouldn’t get ahead in the second half until midway through the fourth.
Free throws became critical in the fourth quarter with both teams in the bonus. The Maroon Giants finished 17-26 for the game to Mattawan’s 10-24, and clutch shots from Trevon Gunter (who finished 6-6 in the quarter) helped KC assume control. Gunter sank two shots with 1:34 remaining for a 38-34 Giant lead, their lone two-possession advantage all evening.
On the ensuing possession, Wildcat center Nolan Foster scored on a put-back and drew the foul, completing the three-point play for a 38-37 score. Gunter was fouled again with 33 seconds left and drained two more free throws, pushing the tally to 40-37. Mattawan missed their first three-point try, but Jaden Mabin snagged the offensive rebound and found Shouse, who buried a long triple from the wing with seconds to spare, forcing overtime.
Listen to the final moments of regulation below:
The lead switched four times during overtime and with a timeout at 44.6 seconds to spare, the game was even at 45-45. Foster hit a free throw following the timeout to put the Wildcats ahead by one. With 35 ticks left, Jadakiss Lewis was fouled and drained both of his free throws for the 47-46 lead. Lewis went 6-6 at the line and had all seven of K-Central’s overtime points.
On Mattawan’s possession, Matt Pelak found a lane along the baseline, scoring the clinching bucket with 10 to go. Lewis’s ensuing shot try would get blocked by Foster and rebounded by Mabin, seemingly ending the game as the Wildcats “Den” rushed the floor in celebration. However, it was ruled that the Maroon Giants forced a jump ball before the horn and had the possession arrow, giving them one more hope with one second to spare. Justin Davis’s shot off the inbound from mid-range was just off target, allowing Mattawan to remain undefeated.
Listen to the final moments of overtime below:
Foster finished with 15 points for the Wildcats, closely followed by 14 from Shouse. Lewis topped K-Central with 16, trailed by 13 via Gunter.
Kalamazoo Central falls to 9-3 on the season, their three losses decided by a combined six points to teams with a combined 37-5 record. They travel to Battle Creek Friday to face Lakeview, followed by a home game Saturday evening against Loy Norrix, which can be heard live via JoeInsider.com.
Mattawan improves to 12-0 and hosts St. Joseph Friday. The Wildcats and Maroon Giants will meet again at Mattawan on Monday, February 25 in a blockbuster first-round district rematch.
Mattawan Scoring: Nolan Foster 15, Dexter Shouse 14, Luke Pelak 8, Matt Pelak 7, Jaden Mabin 4
Kalamazoo Central Scoring: Jadakiss Lewis 16, Trevon Gunter 13, Gerald Crawford III 6, Dayvion Smith 5, Roy Whimper 4, Justin Davis 3