A chance for Decatur to play at the American Airlines Center in Dallas is almost as rare as a sudden-death ending to a basketball game.
The Eagles got to experience both Monday.Parker Slate’s lay-up with 31 seconds left in the second overtime ended the game against Wichita Falls Rider and gave Decatur (1-1) its first victory of the season, 35-33.
“It’s my first walk-off victory in basketball,” Decatur coach Drew Coffman said with a smile.With the Dallas Mavericks needing to take the floor in preparation for their game against Golden State, time became a big issue Monday. After a two-minute overtime kept the game tied the coaches decided the second overtime would come down to the first-one scores affair.
“We had a real tough time scoring the ball,” Coffman said. “I’m hoping a lot of it had to do with not ever playing in a venue like this. Our kids like playing here so much that I think they tried to play here as long as they could before we got kicked off.”
It didn’t appear the Eagles would need overtime at all, as they held the lead the majority of the game until Rider tied things up at the free throw line with 23 seconds left in the game.
Decatur led by as many as eight points going into the third quarter, but couldn’t put the Raiders away.
The Eagles could only come up with five points in the third period as Rider closed back to within 30-27. Things got even worse in the fourth quarter, when Decatur’s only bucket came on a 3-pointer from Austin Givens with 5:53 left in the game.
Decatur would not score again until the walk-off basket by Slate.
Coffman knows the offense still needs work, but the defense has improved from the first time out.
“We cleaned some things up defensively,” Coffman said. “It’s going to take a lot of time to get this where we want it. Offensively, we still have a long ways to go obviously. Our defense is a little ahead of our offense right now.”
Decatur was led by Slate with 13 and Cameron Mize with 12. Givens finished with six.
Decatur will be back in action Saturday when they travel to Denton Ryan.