WARNER ROBINS -- The Veterans boys basketball team mounted a late fourth-quarter comeback to extend its opening-round game of the Houston County Bear Brawl tournament, but the Warhawks eventually fell 83-80 in overtime to Carver-Columbus.
It was the fourth overtime contest Veterans (3-6) has played in this season.
“It’s beyond old the way we’re going to overtime every night,” Veterans head coach Chris Kothe said. “Every game we play we’ll get up early, but right now we just don’t have the killer instinct. We take our foot off of the gas pedal. You’ve got to have five out there that don’t let teams up when you have them down.”
Veterans started out hot by scoring 22 points in the opening quarter and led by as much as 11, but the advantage was short-lived. Carver took a one-point lead to the halftime break and led by 15 to end the third.
“It’s all because of effort,” Kothe said. “It’s not because Carver made adjustments. Credit (Carver) for coming out and fighting and doing what they did, but we did not play anything like we did in the first quarter. I’ve got to fix it somehow.”
The Tigers appeared to have the game in hand up by 11 with 3:30 remaining in the fourth, but Veterans was not done.
Shazier Lawson’s 3-pointer cut the lead to single digits with less than a minute to go, and Dathan Boyd’s 3-pointer from the left wing in transition tied the game at 69 with six seconds to go in regulation.
“It all comes down to effort with us,” Kothe said. “When we play with effort and get after people, I truly believe we can play with anybody. We’re learning together. We’re going to get there.”
Veterans struggled from the free-throw line in the extra period, converting just 3-of-9 as Carver built an eight-point lead to close out the victory.
Lawson led the Warhawks with 26 points, while Brian Hollis added 20.
Veterans once again played without standout guard DJ Rozier, who likely will be sidelined until the end of January with a torn MCL, but the Warhawks got a boost from the return of post player Josh Linder, who had missed time with a dislocated toe.
“I don’t make excuses, but two main parts that we had all summer and we were expecting to have haven’t been here, and it’s taking some getting used to,” Kothe said. “Some people are having to play minutes that probably wouldn’t have if we were healthy.”