Hollister coach Chris Kennedy says his team has been shaky at the free throw line for a good part of the season.
But the Tigers were clutch at the charity stripe when it mattered most Tuesday night, going perfect at the line in a 69-59 overtime win at Clever.
Blake Woods led four Hollister players in double figures with 19 points as the Tigers improved to 17-5.
Hollister is the No. 2 seed for the Class 3, District 11 tournament, which the Tigers will host the week of Feb. 18.
“Clever’s a good opponent,” Kennedy said. “I don’t care if it’s at your place or you’re coming here, they’re going to bring it. They’re gonna have a good chance in districts… It was a real good win for us.”
Hollister outscored Clever 15- 5 in the overtime period, going a perfect 7-for-7 at the free throw line.
“Every day (players) come in for practice, we have them shoot about an hour or an hour and 15 minutes in the morning. Half of that is free throws,” Kennedy said. “It’s been a weakness for us and we’re trying to make it a strength. Tonight, it was a strength.”
The Tigers scored the final nine points of the game. Clinging to a 60-59 lead with a minute to go in overtime, Hollister found Woods in the post for a basket.
Clever would miss the front end of a one-and-one then commit a turnover on its next two possessions.
The Bluejays had a chance to win the game in regulation. After calling timeout with 1:38 remaining and the game tied at 54 apiece, Clever milked the clock down and tried to isolate guard Dalton Fisher in the final seconds.
Fisher, who led all players with 27 points, drove and kicked it out to Travis Pennewell for a 3-pointer that was no good at the buzzer.
“We were wanting to (double) Fisher and he kicked it out. I thought we contested pretty well, but (Clever) still got a pretty good look at it,” Kennedy said. “They did what they needed to do to try to win. With two minutes left there in overtime, we did the same thing – holding the ball.”
Hollister had a considerable size advantage and dominated scoring and rebounding around the basket. Ethan Davidson and Kyle David added 16 points apiece for Hollister, which hosts Marshfield on Friday.
Clever (18-4) faces Billings at home Friday in a battle for the Southwest Central League crown.
Hollister 69, Clever 59
Hollister 10 20 14 10 15 --- 69
Clever 7 18 19 10 5 --- 59
Hollister – Blake Woods 19, Ethan Davidson 16, Kyle David 16, Zach Calovich 10, Trey McDowell 4, Andy Wenger 2, Christian Yiannios 2
Clever – Dalton Fisher 27, Matt Hamilton 16, Travis Pennewell 8, Jared Albright 6, Colton Pemberton 2