COLUMBIA STATION — Adam Ross didn’t shoot the ball real well Tuesday against Wellington but the Columbia senior’s last basket of the night made up for all his misses.
With four seconds left in overtime, Ross got the ball on the low block and despite pressure from Wellington’s defense, hit the go-ahead shot. When the Dukes’ final long-distance 3-pointer caromed out of the basket, the Raiders had a 62-61 Patriot Athletic Conference win.
The Raiders improved to 8-2, 5-2 in the league, while Wellington fell to 6-5, 4-3.
“It was amazing,” Ross said of hitting the winning shot. “With the game I was having, I wasn’t hitting all my shots. Coming down there and hitting that shot for the team and this game was just huge.”
Ross made the game-winning shot while playing alongside several junior varsity players because the Raiders lost their other three seniors to fouls. Although there were drastic changes in personnel, Ross scored five of his 11 points in overtime.
“I was trying to step up for the team,” Ross said. “When three of our seniors, three out of the four seniors foul out, and I’m the only one left, I have to step up as the leader and take control of the game for the team. That’s what was going through my mind, just taking control of the game.”
Wellington junior guard Noah Diermyer looked like he might be the hero before Ross assumed the role. With the Dukes down three with four seconds to go and the length of the floor to cover after getting a rebound off a missed free throw, Noah Diermyer banked in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from well beyond the arc to force the extra session.
“We needed a play,” Wellington coach Dan Gundert said. “We needed a play and Noah made it. It was a pretty lucky shot. He banked it in from 30 feet and we needed it.”
Wellington was able to take the game to overtime despite missing one of its starters, senior guard Ryan Whitaker, who suffered a right foot injury late in the second quarter and did not return.
“I thought our kids played with a lot of guts and effort down the stretch,” Gundert said. “There was just no focus, no execution at all down the stretch. Some really bad plays that we made — and it cost us.
“We were right there. We executed early, and we got the lead and just completely collapsed in focus.”
Wellington led 60-57 midway through the overtime period when junior guard Mason McClellan completed the second of his two three-point plays, but the Dukes missed three of their four attempts from the free throw line in the final 28 seconds to set the table for Ross’ game-winner.
“That was an ugly game,” Columbia coach Larry Babics said. “Obviously, you take the win, but we’re very, extremely lucky that we did win. Give Wellington a ton of credit. They lost one of their best players in the first half. They fought the whole game.
“We were just fortunate to make one more point in a very long, hard-fought game. Wellington’s a good team. They’re extremely well-coached, so we knew it was going to be a battle the whole game. I’d rather be lucky than good, and tonight, we were extremely lucky.”
Columbia 62, Wellington 61 (OT)
WELLINGTON (61): Ryan Whitaker 5-2-12, Noah Diermyer 3-3-10, Ben Bliss 3-5-11, Mason McClellan 5-8-18, Brandon Orozco 2-2-6, Nick Laposky 1-0-2, Parker Adler 0-2-2. Totals 19-22-61.
COLUMBIA (62): Jared Byczynski 0-1-1, Adam Ross 4-3-11, Bailey Coleman 4-6-14, Jack Platten 0-2-2, Charlie Simon 1-3-5, Caleb Borling 5-2-16, Brandon Coleman 6-1-13. Totals 20-18-62.
Wellington 12 12 7 20 10 — 61
Columbia 10 23 10 8 11 — 62
Three-point goals: Columbia 4-13 (Borling 4), Wellington 1-16 (Diermyer). Field Goals: Columbia 20-49 (40.8 percent), Wellington 19-61 (31.1 percent). Free throws: Columbia 18-38 (47.4 percent), Wellington 22-30 (73.3 percent). Rebounds: Columbia 41, Wellington 43. Turnovers: Columbia 15, Wellington 11. Technical foul: Wellington coach Dan Gundert. Fouled out: Diermyer, Adler, Bailey Coleman, Brandon Coleman, Byczynski.
Junior varsity: Wellington, 50-44