BIG STONE GAP — Spoiling Powell Valley’s homecoming may not be the Appalachia boys basketball team’s reason for living. But it’ll do for the moment.
Muscular Mladen Bogicevic took it to the hole with 14 seconds remaining in overtime and the Bulldogs defense erased the Vikings’ final possession with a forced turnover to prevail 40-38 in a Lonesome Pine District rematch Friday night.
“I was trying to play my best for my teammates ... to play like a team,” said the 6-foot-7 Bogicevic, who scored the game-winner off an assist by Josh Allen in front of a packed and utterly rocking house.
The big man’s free throw with 40 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 36 and set the stage for overtime.
Powell Valley coach Zack Moore had hoped to set up a screen for point guard Tyler “Stick” Garrison on the final play of OT. But Garrison got caught in a pinch between constant shadow Mason Stuart and doubling defender Forrest Stuart.
Garrison tried to pass his way out of the cul-de-sac, but Forrest Stuart — who had 11 steals on the night — managed to tip the ball to teammate Tyler Hall to seal the win.
“We got into our triangle and 2. Coach said if they screen Mason, for me to switch onto him and make sure he can’t get a shot off and make sure we play clean defense,” said Forrest Stuart, who’d picked up his fourth foul on a charge late in the fourth quarter.
Moore, who was pleased with his team’s effort and overall conduct, recognized the trap developing just before it was sprung.
“If I could go back I might change it and run a different set. (Garrison) had nowhere to go,” said Moore, whose team muzzled the Bulldogs (16-2, 6-2) at Appalachia in round one.
It was a defensive showcase, to be sure. Mason Stuart had a lot to do with holding Garrison to nine points. On the other end, Powell Valley’s Ryan Hubbard earned his stripes helping hold Forrest Stuart to a 3-for-13 showing from the field.
Forrest Stuart, who finished with 11 points, got two of his buckets on layups off steals.
Freshman post Tyler Vernon scored 12 points to pace the Vikings (17-2, 7-1) while post Sam Vaughn had 15 rebounds to go with his nine points.
“I was scared to death they were going to hit (Vernon) in the end, that they would post him up inside,” said Appalachia coach Pat Jervis. “But we were figuring that they’d want Stick to take that last shot and we just did a really good job defensively.”
In the girls’ game, Tasha Trent scored 21 points and grabbed 20 rebounds as the Lady Vikings swept the Lady Bulldogs with a 58-51 win.
Trent also distributed six assists for Powell Valley (10-9, 4-4) while Cassie Chadwell fired up 17 points and dished out five assists. Post Lauren Schoolcraft scored 10 points for the Lady Vikings, but wasn’t as big a factor on the boards because of foul trouble.
“We came out and played really hard. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Powell Valley coach Amanda Breeding, who praised Appalachia’s defensive intensity.
Hanna Grosshennig scored 12 points and collected 10 rebounds for Appalachia (9-10, 3-5) while Erica Boggs led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 16 points. Chelsea Boyd scored 10, also corralling seven rebounds and snapping up five steals.
The Lady Bulldogs were 7-for-26 from the free throw line — a fatal statistic.
“Foul shooting has continued to be our nemesis all season,” said Appalachia coach Angela Honeycutt. “We average at least 100 foul shots per practice. But it doesn’t look like it.”