Oak Creek Something pretty unusual has to happen for a team that trails by 19 in the third quarter to lose in heartbreaking fashion.
Indeed, the Soroco High School boys basketball team’s 83-78 overtime loss to Vail Christian on Wednesday night in Oak Creek had it all, everything from snoozer blowout to furious comeback, late-game heroics to a tragic — for the Rams, anyway — finish.
“I’m pretty proud of the boys for coming back,” Soroco coach Jake Eskridge said. “I just wish we could have gotten the win for the cherry on top.”
Soroco’s rise was jawdropping. Senior Matt Regan, slowed through the first half, exploded in the third quarter to score 17 of his team-high 30 points. He added six more in the fourth, including a 3-for-3 free-throw performance that tied the game for the first time with 51.5 seconds to go.
He drilled a 3-pointer, his seventh, with 25 seconds remaining to end things one final time.
Soroco had every chance to win as Bjorn Carlson earned two free throws with 1.4 seconds remaining. They both bounced off the rim, however.
“Matt Regan and (Ryan) Jeep, they just took over,” Vail senior Parker Poage said. “I was worried. I was worried the whole time they were coming back.”
Even more jawdropping was Poage’s overtime 3-pointer that finally gave his team the advantage it needed.
Soroco led early in the extra frame, but the game again was tied with the clock winding down when Poage swung around a double screen and let fly an off-balance, impossible 3-pointer that swished right through with 22 seconds remaining.
“It was 100 percent faith,” Poage said, grinning wide. “I do not know how that went in.”
It proved enough to finish the Rams. Ethan Ellsworth led the Saints with 33 points while Poage finished with 20. Jeep had 17 for Soroco; Bjorn Carlson, 14; and Chance Beaty, 12.
Soroco slipped to 4-5 on the season and next plays Friday at Belleview Christian.