It took two overtimes to do it, but Rod Gorman found his team on the left side of the win-loss column for the 500th time in his career as his Wildcats took down Republic 47-45 in double overtime.
Everything appeared to be against the Wildcats on paper coming into the semifinals of their home tournament against Republic.
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Rogersville was 8-7 overall and staring down the Class 4’s No. 2 team in the one-loss Tigers. The Wildcats also had a short bench with just two reserves as the junior varsity and freshmen teams had their own tournaments.
Republic jumped out to a 12-9 lead after the first quarter, but the Wildcats would respond by outscoring the Tigers 18-8 in the second quarter to go into the break up 27-20.
Controlling tempo was the key for the Wildcats throughout.
"I don't know that we could have guarded them if we didn't control the tempo, but we were able to do that," Gorman said.
Republic outscored Rogersville 14-10 in the third quarter to trail by just three. That deficit was erased quickly in the fourth quarter and the two teams went to overtime tied at 43.
Each team managed just one basket in the first overtime as Republic blocked a final shot attempt to send it to a second overtime.
In the second extra period, Rogersville locked down on defense and did not allow a point as the Wildcats won many 50-50 balls.
"The ball bounced our way a lot," Gorman said. "We created some of that ourselves, but you have to have a little luck."
It was only fitting that Gorman’s son Marcus Gorman be the one to seal the win with a block and steal to close the game out.
"It is a special moment,” Gorman said of his 500th win. “It tells you we have had great players. To have my son out there playing tonight was special."
The moment did not weigh heavy on the players coming in, but the accomplishment was not lost on Gorman’s son.
"When we went into this game, we did not talk about it at all. Some of the team didn't even know," Marcus Gorman said. "When the buzzer went off it was pretty emotional just knowing that he got the 500 and I had a part to do with it.”
Gorman had eight points in his father’s 500th win. Corbin Medley scored a team-high 10 points. Justus Boever, who was supposed to only play limited minutes, also scored eight for Rogersville.
Republic got 21 points from Cody Geiger, including 10 in the first quarter, in the loss.
Rogersville will face Ozark at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Rogersville for the tournament title. Ozark was a 69-39 winner over Strafford in the semifinals. Republic gets Strafford in the third place game.