Sometimes it takes a little extra effort.
Then there was Monday night in a battle for Mountain League supremacy.
It’s a sign a game will stick in basketball fans’ memories for years to come when someone has a triple-double — and that wasn’t the biggest highlight.
“This is one we’re going to remember for a long, long time,” said Penns Valley senior forward Luke Weaver, who scored six of his 15 points in the third overtime of Monday night’s 53-47 victory over Bald Eagle Area.
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“Oh man, I’m just drained,” said Weaver, who also grabbed seven rebounds. “What a great game. We just never gave up.”
Teammate Zach Engle had that triple-double, with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks, including a number of key stuffs late in the game.
“I told the kids it was one of the greatest games I’ve ever been a part of,” Rams coach Terry Glunt said. “Obviously because we won, but it still would have been a good game had we lost.”
The end result of the Centre County showdown was leaving a log jam atop the Mountain League’s standings for the Rams (11-1, 5-1) and Eagles (11-2, 6-1), while Tyrone, Huntingdon and Central each have just two league losses with three weeks left in the regular season.
Will Jackson added 10 points for Penns Valley, while Bryan Greene had 13 points and eight rebounds for BEA, Bryce Greene added 10 points and eight rebounds, Jason Jones and Ryan Dyke each netted seven points and Jones pulled down 10 rebounds.
Following so many dramatic turns through regulation and the first two extra frames, Penns Valley had a stunning opening to the third overtime when Engle directed the opening tip down the court to a streaking Weaver for a layup.
“We had that one set up,” Weaver said. “Zach thought he could tap it out to me and it worked great.”
A Brandon Gettig layup tied it moments later, but Weaver put the Rams in the lead for good by fighting for a rebound off his own miss to get the put-back, then added insurance in the last minute when he sank a pair of free throws.
Weaver also had a key 3-pointer in regulation, drilling one from well out in NBA range with 1:38 left to tie the game at 35-35 in what turned out to be the final bucket before the overtimes.
Penns Valley had gotten the ball back and was trying to stall until the end, but Trey Butterworth stripped the ball from Engle near midcourt and broke for the basket. Engle closed on the guard and swatted the ball into the glass to deny the points.
The Eagles got the rebound and killed the clock to set up one last chance, but Engle again denied any BEA heroics when Gettig drove from the wing and tried a 15-footer but the 6-foot-5 sophomore got a piece of the shot.
“He saved them there in overtime,” said BEA coach Bill Butterworth, whose team battled back from a 13-2 deficit to open the game. “We had wide open layups going in there, and on the one steal I remember he hit it off the backboard there. I told Terry (Glunt) he better buy him a pizza or something after that game. That boy was super tonight. We just had no answers.”
In the first overtime, again the Eagles had a chance at the game-winner when Bryan Greene drove the baseline going for a layup, but Engle knocked the shot away.
“He was absolutely big defensively,” Glunt said. “He’s such a great weapon for us. He’s young, he’s a sophomore, he made a couple mistakes with some passes and not holding onto the ball earlier, but he certainly made up for it down the stretch. I know he felt bad a couple times with some turnovers, but he made some big shots, had some big blocks, he grew up a lot today — I mean that figuratively. He’s already big.”
After that block in the first overtime, Penns Valley still had 3.4 seconds to set up a play, and a long pass found Engle near midcourt, who fed Logan Johnson for a fall-away shot from the corner, but he was off the mark.
Both teams had the lead in the final minute of the second overtime. A Weaver put-back put the Rams ahead by one with 47 seconds left, Bryan Greene put the Eagles back in front with a 3-point play on a backdoor layup with 16.6 seconds left, and Engle had a stick-back to tie it at 45 with 5.8 seconds to go. Gettig had a clean look at a 3-pointer at the top of the key at the buzzer, but he found the back of the rim.
“Everything worked out the way we wanted,” Butterworth said of all the game-winning attempts. “We probably should have pumped-faked a little maybe on (Engle), because he was running out on us. But we got the looks we wanted, he just got a hand on it.”
Both teams know a little about overtime — the Rams lost in extra time to Tyrone last week, while those Eagles fell to BEA in double-overtime the week before.
But this one just kept going, and both teams know they will see each other again Feb. 4 in Spring Mills.
“Exciting, awesome game,” Butterworth said. “I lost my voice, I had a headache, I sweat more today than I ever have in my life.”