Calvin — The top-seeded Roff Tigers missed 23 — yes 23 — free throws, were out-rebounded 51-42 and hit just 2-of-10 from the 3-point stripe.
Somehow the Tigers overcame it all, turned back a gutsy Allen upset bid and pushed past the No. 4 seed Mustangs 49-38 during an intense Pontotoc Conference Tournament semifinal game Wednesday night in Calvin.
“We practice them all the time. It looked like they were aiming after the first miss or two,” Roff head coach Bo Thomason said of the free throw futility. “I think they wanted it pretty bad tonight. Allen is always a battle, and they wanted to beat them. I understand, but 23 free throws is a lot.”
Second seed Asher got a first-half test from No. 5 seed Tupelo before using a big third quarter to ease past the Tigers 59-45.
Roff and Asher will collide in Saturday night’s 7:30 p.m. boys championship contest while Tupelo and Allen will duke it out for third place at 4:30 p.m. The boys consolation title game will pit Stonewall versus Vanoss at 1:30 p.m.
Roff 49, Allen 38
Roff jumped out to leads of 9-2 and 14-6 in the first quarter and ironically took an 11-point lead at 21-10 on a pair of free throws by Zach Lewis at the 6:06 mark of the second frame.
C.J. Johnson’s fast break layup — started by Lewis after a long rebound and pass downcourt — put Roff on top 29-14 with two and a half minutes left in the first half.
Allen got a 3-pointer from Drew Black and a basket inside by Zane Erickson to end the quarter and make it 29-19 at intermission.
The Mustangs got within seven (39-32) on back-to-back buckets by Erickson with 4:59 to play before Roff finally salted the game away.
It was a game where nothing came easy for the Tigers, especially in the second half.