The Billings and Scott County Central boys gave new meaning to the word shootout in the inaugural Ozark Mountain Shootout on Saturday morning as the Class 1 No. 2 Braves won an overtime track meet over Class 2 No. 1 Billings 111-96.
The loss snaps a 17-game winning streak dating back to January when the Wildcats lost to Mt. Vernon in the Nixa Tournament.
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Billings was playing down a man as Brady Chastain and his 17.3 point-per-game average were out due to illness.
Wildcat senior Austin Essick knew his team would have to pick up the slack with a short bench if they had any hope of winning.
“We knew coming into this game we had to play our hardest to pick up for him. We came out and did just that, they just had way too much for us,” Essick said.
Things looked good early for the Wildcats as they hopped out to a 7-0 lead, but Scott County would throw down the first of many runs to come back and tie the game at 21 by the end of the first quarter and take a four-point advantage at 46-41 at the break.
Billings seemed to be chasing the Braves for the rest of the game as the speed of the Braves along with their press took its toll on the short-handed Braves.
“They run out more than most people than we play do and we weren’t used to that and we didn’t get back like we needed to,” Billings head coach Kendall Tilley said.
Scott County continued to ratchet up the pace and the score in the fourth quarter as Tilley had to make an adjustment or risk getting blown out as the Braves were up by nine in the fourth.
“We shot too many three starting the fourth quarter and then we said let’s go inside and see if we can get in the double bonus. I thought we did a good job there and got back in it and traded baskets with them,” Tilley said.
The Wildcats started pounding it inside and used a big advantage on the offensive boards to throw down a 10-0 run and take a lead.
The teams battled back-and-forth through the rest of the fourth. Billings scored five quick points to take an 86-84 lead with 16 seconds left, but Scott County responded with a bucket at the buzzer to go to overtime.
In overtime it was the Larandis Banks show.
Banks scored 16 of his game-high 38 points in that final frame as the Braves took the win.
“We were just running out of gas. They just ran us way too much and we didn’t have the bench we usually have,” Essick said.
Depth and defense can be pointed to as the culprits today for the Wildcats. Dawson Meyer poured in 37 points to lead Billings with Essick right behind at 30. Chad Yeokum chipped in 23 points of his own. The trio scored 90 of Billings’ 96 points.
“We know that we have to play good transition defense. We know that we have to find a way to get some stops and find something that works for us defensively,” Tilley said. “That was a wakeup call like everybody else has sometime during the year and hopefully we respond from it.”
Billings will have its chance to respond with a game against School of the Ozarks next Tuesday.