The Malden Green Wave outlasted NMCC 77-74 in double overtime in an exciting Class 3, District 1 opening-round contest at Malden on Monday.
"I can't say enough about the ballgame," said McFerren. "It was a well-fought ballgame on both ends of the court. I hate to turn it loose; I really do, but the way these guys performed tonight, I can't think of a better way to go out."
Regulation ended with the score knotted at 60.
Malden went up 66-62 early in the first overtime period, thanks to three consecutive baskets by 5-foot-10 Trey Porter.
After a NMCC timeout, the Eagles responded with five straight points from Marquese Gates to take the lead at 67-66 with 1:30 to go.
Then junior guard Ryan Criglar, off the bench for the first time all evening, scored to send the Green Wave up 68-67 with 1:10 left. A Malden free throw extended the lead to 69-67 with 39.5 seconds left.
Criglar played a key role in the overtime periods with six points.
"He did a good job," said Ison. "He didn't turn it over and that's a big thing for him. He had a steal, a layup and some real big free throws."
Malden went on a 6-1 run to open the extra stanza and forge a 75-70 lead. Two consecutive field goals by McIntosh pulled the Eagles to within one at 75-74.
Each team missed two free throw attempts apiece in double bonus situations within the final 56 seconds before Criglar nailed two with six seconds left for the final margin of victory.
"We had an opportunity to win the game," said McFerren, "but let's take our hats off to Malden. They were playing without some of their big guys and they didn't quit either."
Said Ison, "I'm just glad it's over. I'm probably more wore out than they (players) are. I asked Coach McFerren, after the game, how do you get all of your kids to play that hard all the time. Regardless of the talent level or athleticism they have on his teams, anytime you beat a McFerren team, that's an accomplishment because he's going to have them playing and they won't give up."
The first quarter ended with Malden holding a 16-12 edge.
The Eagles' Jordan Kimball kept his team in the game with 10 first-quarter points. Kimball finished with a game-high 27, including three 3s.
"I felt my shot during warmups and I knew that I had to take some shots and they were falling," said Kimball, a senior in his final game for NMCC.
Asked his thoughts on playing under Coach McFerren, Kimball, who has committed to Arkansas State University to play baseball, said, "I really loved playing for him. I wish he'd been here since my freshman year. I think I could be playing college basketball somewhere."
NMCC took a lead of 24-22 on Reggie Cole's conventional 3-point play with 1:35 to go in the second period, but the Green Wave's 6-1 run to close the quarter sent them in at halftime with a 28-25 advantage.
Malden extended its lead to 36-28 early in the third quarter, but the Eagles clawed their way back to go ahead 40-38 with 3:02 remaining.
Senior Shaun Newsom's 3-pointer from the left corner lifted the Eagles to a 44-38 lead at about the 2-minute mark. NMCC ended the quarter on two consecutive baskets by Kimball, the last at the buzzer, to claim a 48-44 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Giving away a height advantage to the Green Wave, the Eagles, nevertheless, held their own on the boards in the first three quarters. That tide began to turn in the fourth as the taller Green Wave picked up several points off second-shot opportunities.
"Their rebounding took a toll on us there at the end," said McFerren. "I don't think it was so much that we couldn't battle with them; we were just fatigued. We only have two rebounders that can get up with teams like that. If they get tired, we suffer."
Ison felt better effort allowed his team to take control of the glass late.
"We didn't rebound well most of the night," he said. "People were saying that they were going over the back, but if you don't block out and jump, they're (officials) not going to call it. Late in the game, we did do a good job of getting second shots."
In the fourth quarter, Malden ran off six straight points to pull ahead 50-48, but the Eagles bounced back with four points to retake the lead at 52-50 with 5 minutes left.
Quick 5-9 point guard Alonzo Louis, the Green Wave's scoring leader with 18 points, knocked down a trey for a 53-52 edge, which catapulted Malden to a 56-52 advantage with 3 minutes remaining.
The Green Wave's, perhaps questionable, shot selection and shot timing allowed the Eagles to stay within striking distance. Trailing 60-56 with 55 seconds left, Kimball sank two free throws to cut the margin to two at 60-58. Malden misses combined with NMCC turnovers let the 60-58 score stand until 12.6 seconds were left.
Kimball's twisting runner in the lane looked like it had a chance but fell off the rim.
However, he was fouled on the play, stepped to the stripe and calmly sank two free throws to tie the game at 60, setting up the overtime.
NMCC, behind Kimball's 27, received 17 points from McIntosh and 13 from Gates. The Eagles, in the physical game featuring 49 fouls, went to the line 35 times, hitting 22.
Louis' 18 paced Malden, which also had double-figure scoring from Porter with 15 and Quentin Gordon with 10. The Green Wave went 10-of-19 from the free-throw line.
Fourth-seeded Malden (8-17) advances to the district semifinal against top-
seed Doniphan, 88-69 winners over Hayti. They meet on Thursday at 6 p.m.
NMCC, the fifth district seed, closes its season at 8-17 but made considerable strides under McFerren following a 2-10 start.
"What they did tonight let me know that they enjoyed the season," said McFerren. "We didn't have anybody quit or any bickering among ourselves. That's what it's all about as far as I'm concerned. You like to win, but tomorrow the sun is going to come up and that's all that matters. "If I go to war, I want these guys with me."
MALDEN -- The Portageville Bulldogs fourth-quarter spurt broke open a close game as they went on to win going away against Caruthersville.
The Bulldogs prevailed 65-52 in their Class 3, District 1 opener on Monday.
Trailing 47-44 going into the fourth period, the Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 21-5 in the frame, all, except three free throws, on 2-point field goals, which pleased coach Jim Bidewell.
"We came out and everybody wanted to jack that 3 (-pointer) up," said Bidewell. "I think seven of our first eight shots were from 3-point land. I just asked them to try to get at least one shot in the paint today. We can't live or die on the 3-pointer.
"I don't mind shooting the 3, but we shot it so fast. We spent all our time on the defensive end and we weren't playing (good) defense."
Bulldogs' senior starter, Patrick Morton, appeared to be in for a big scoring night as he opened with three first-quarter 3-pointers, but went scoreless the remainder of the contest.
Said Bidewell, on Morton's early 3-point barrage, "When Patrick got going, then everyone said 'I want some of that.'"
Caruthersville, depleted with defections and employing a lineup of primarily freshmen and sophomores, played with the Bulldogs for three quarters.
Junior Kendrickus Reed, the only Tiger upperclassman, topped the offense with 20 points. Reed was the lone Tiger in double digits.
Among the evening's highlights was a two-handed flush by the high-flying six-foot Reed off a breakaway.
Portageville led 18-14 after the first quarter, then Caruthersville slipped past for a 31-30 halftime edge. The Tigers held the advantage at 47-44 going into the final period.
"They (Bulldogs) were a little nervous, playing Caruthersville for the third time and realizing they almost beat us last time, but they settled down, got it inside and boxed out real well in the fourth quarter," said Bidewell.
Third-seed Portageville (17-7) buckled down in the fourth period, on both the offensive and defensive ends.
The Bulldogs ran off a 10-0 run, interrupted only by Reed's 3-pointer, then finished the quarter on an 11-2 jog to advance to the semifinal of the tournament.
Junior Trey Mosby, the Bulldogs' scoring leader with 22 points, netted 11 in the decisive fourth.
The Bulldogs' Mr. Inside, 6-2 Marcus Greene, finished with 18 points and senior point guard Jordan Bidewell added 10.
"We just tried to keep our poise and the kids responded well late," coach Bidewell said.
Portageville faces No. 2-seed Twin Rivers, 42-38 winners over Kennett, on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.