Deer Lakes fends off Ellwood City in chaotic final seconds of overtime

Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 10:24 PM

With a last-second shot, Collin Rodgers kept Deer Lakes’ hopes of defending its WPIAL Class 3A boys basketball championship alive.

Rodgers scored after Nathaniel Moore stole an inbounds pass in the final seconds, and the top-seeded Lancers survived an upset bid by No. 9 Ellwood City in a 39-38 overtime victory in the Class 3A quarterfinals Thursday at North Allegheny.

“There was not much time left, so there really wasn’t anything to think about other than putting it up and hoping it would go in,” Rodgers said. “I wasn’t shooting it well all night, but I did what I could to contribute. I had only four points up until that point but got two big points at the end to help out.”

Ellwood City tried a long inbounds pass with 10 seconds remaining and leading by one, but Moore leaped high near the midcourt stripe to tip the ball away and then a mad scramble ensued.

Rodgers ended up with the ball and scored the winner.

Prior to the winner, Deer Lakes struggled to find consistent offense and was limited to nine points between the second and third quarters.

The Lancers trailed for the majority of the fourth quarter, but Aiden Fletcher hit a shot late that tied the score.

Ellwood City led by five in overtime, but Rodgers and Moore had key buckets and Aiden Fletcher had a free throw.

Billy Schaeffer led the Lancers with 12 points.

Joe Roth had 20 for Ellwood City and eclipsed 2,000 points for his career with a dunk in the third quarter.

Deer Lakes will meet No. 4 Neshannock in Monday’s semifinals.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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