Henry Clay rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to claim a 66-63 overtime win over No. 1 Paul Laurence Dunbar at home on Thursday night.
Isaiah “Pun” Tisdale and Lee Ridgeway combined for 50 of the No. 4 Blue Devils’ points while shooting a combined 17-for-24 from the floor. The seniors connected on six of their seven shots from behind the arc, including a pair of wide-open looks from the corner by Ridgeway that came about a minute apart in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
The second make got Henry Clay to within 53-52 with two minutes left, allowing the Blue Devils to clamp down and trade free throws with Dunbar.
“I feel like I had to stay in attack mode and stay in it offensively,” said Ridgeway, who finished with 20 points.
Tisdale hit a pair free throws – the second taking a couple of bounces before falling through – with 34.5 seconds left to tie things at 56 before Dunbar’s game-winning three attempt fell short as time expired.
Seeing his free throw bounce around was agonizing to Tisdale.
“I thought that ball was about to do me wrong,” he said with a laugh. “I was about to be so mad.”
Tisdale said since the loss at Scott County last Friday, in which he scored 40 points, the Blue Devils had had a bad taste in their mouth and wanted to get it out.
“This was a region championship-type game for us so we wanted to take it strong and get the win,” Tisdale said.
He scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, both game highs. Henry Clay improved to 5-1 in a current stretch of eight consecutive games against top-25 teams. The Devils play North Hardin at a neutral site Saturday before going to Lafayette on Tuesday.
Five different Blue Devils scored in overtime, including Ramond Jackson and Keaston Brown, both freshmen who came off the bench as Henry Clay dealt with foul trouble. Jackson forced a pivotal five-second call against Dunbar after Tisdale scored two to put Henry Clay up 60-57 with 3:10 remaining in overtime.
“Ramond gets a five-second call and Keaston gets a bucket, so you see a little bit of the future coming in there and it’s good to see them do well in a big game like that,” Henry Clay Coach Daniel Brown said. “ … It was a fun atmosphere. I’m glad to be on the winning side.”
Dunbar built a 10-point first-quarter lead which Henry Clay trimmed to eight heading into the locker room.
The Blue Devils managed to shoot a hair better from beyond the arc (37.5 percent) than from the field overall in the first half (37 percent) and had eight turnovers to four for the Bulldogs.
Both shooting marks improved decisively in the second half as Henry Clay went 10-for-19 from the floor including a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point land. They connected on all three shot attempts in the overtime period.
Taveion Hollingsworth led Dunbar with 24 points while Jordan Lewis added 19 points and two steals. Dontell Brown was just shy of a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
Henry Clay 66, Paul Laurence Dunbar 63 (OT)
Dunbar (22-5) — Lewis 19, D. Brown 9, Hollingsworth 24, Kelley 5, Williams 4, J. Brown 2.
Henry Clay (22-5) — Tisdale 30, Price 5, Brown 2, Ridgeway 20, Simpson 5, Houston 2, Jackson 2.