TALLMADGE — There were no signs of Jay Bilas or Rece Davis.
Nevertheless, Tallmadge had its first-ever "GameDay" crew, which was completed with a panel of broadcasters to mimic the popular college basketball television show, Friday at James O. Maddox Court.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, they weren’t too fond of the postgame show.
Host Tallmadge suffered its third straight loss after falling to Kent Roosevelt 56-48 in overtime.
The Rough Riders, who improved to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the Suburban League American Conference, led 41-36 with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore guard Jayden Reynolds who turned the game permanently in Roosevelt’s favor with 10 overtime points after not scoring in regulation.
Mere seconds into overtime, Reynolds got the ball open on the right wing.
Not only had Reynolds not scored all night. He had taken only two shots.
It didn’t matter — he swished the shot.
"We knew that [Reynolds] could shoot it, but he hadn't really shot all game and we were playing a certain way and we were just late," Blue Devils head coach Bill Johnson said. "We were late on a switch and he got wide open and the kid made a shot so kudos to him. They play hard and get after it and honestly it was a good high school basketball game. The crowd was great and wish we could have come out on the positive side of it."
Tallmadge senior Brandon Heigelmann, who scored eight of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter to help force overtime, missed a 3-pointer.
Fellow senior Danny Kurko got the offensive board, but, since he was pinned to the baseline, he couldn’t save the possession as Roosevelt senior Zac Common intercepted Kurko’s pass to the perimeter.
Junior Kristian Daetwyler missed a shot, but sophomore forward Desmeal Leigh grabbed the contested offensive board and kicked it out to Reynolds, who knocked down another 3-pointer for a 48-42 Rough Riders’ lead.
Roosevelt followed with a stellar defensive possession, with Common flying out to contest a Luke Thomas 3-pointer and Daetwyler snagging the defensive rebound.
Once again, the Rough Riders proved the maxim — any man, any moment.
The ball went to senior Tre Moxley, who was scoreless in regulation. Moxley drew a foul on his drive in the right post and knocked down both free throws for a 50-42 lead.
Following one more stop and one more critical board from Daetwyler, the junior guard split a pair from the line to go up nine and after another missed Blue Devils 3-pointer, Leigh split a pair as well for a double-digit lead.
"I'm not mad," Johnson said. "I don't fault their effort at all. It was going to be a grind-it-out affair. That's how Kent plays. I thought we did a better job in the second half of getting up and down a little bit more, which is kind of how we like to play, but we were going to have to grind it out and that's a different style than we play and we battled and battled.
"I told them after the game I love them for it. I'm proud of them, because there were many times when we could have quit. They caused us problems inside and I thought we did a heck of a job of battling all game long to get us to the point where we could get to overtime and didn't just make enough plays down the stretch."
As for the visiting team, any man, any moment didn’t just apply to overtime.
In the first quarter, Common, Roosevelt’s leading scorer, didn’t take a single shot, passing up several 3-point looks in favor of good ball movement.
Down 9-2 with a minute left in the opening quarter, the Rough Riders got a key 3-pointer from senior Zachary Holman, who also drew a critical charging call toward the end of regulation.
Common, after not shooting at all in the first, caught fire in the second, making his first four shots, three from deep, as Roosevelt ran out to an 18-11 lead.
Tallmadge proved hard to run away from — drawing within 20-17 by the intermission.
In fact, the Blue Devils took a four-point lead (27-23) minutes into the third as Heigelmann hit a pull-up jumper from near the elbow, Thomas hit a transition 3-pointer and freshman guard Ty Hurst tore by his defender for an old-fashioned 3-point play.
The Rough Riders responded with a free throw from Daetwyler and another huge play from Holman, as he drove and finished with an extended right hand to draw within 27-26.
After Heigelmann put Tallmadge up three with a classy transition finish, Common hit a mid-range jumper. Heigelmann put the Blue Devils up 32-28 with a 3-pointer off a baseline inbound, but the Rough Riders ended the third on a 5-0 run, capped by Leigh’s buzzer-beating layup.
Roosevelt stretched the run to 8-0 as Holman found Daetwyler for a 3-pointer and a 36-32 lead. A little more than halfway through the fourth quarter, Rough Riders’ senior Anthony Glass had a brilliant finish from the right post, kissing the ball high off glass, to go up 39-36. Roosevelt led literally the entire fourth quarter — until Heigelmann’s game-tying jumper with 22 ticks remaining.
"Prior to that, a couple of possessions prior to that, we were actually running him off of some screens as a little bit of a decoy to see if we could get some other looks and nothing was really there," Johnson said. "Kent did a good job of defending us, so sometimes when we need a big bucket, he likes to just iso [isolate] the floor and get to that elbow spot, so he did a good job of getting to the spot he likes. He was able to raise up and shoot it and I didn't do much coaching there. That's just him making a play."
Kurko finished with 11 points and did his usual blue-collar work for Tallmadge. Johnson also was impressed with Thomas, who was a defensive force throughout the evening.
"Can't say enough about his positives," Johnson said of Kurko. "He works his tail off all game long and a lot of his scores come off offensive rebounds. He has to work to get his scores sometimes. He does a good job when we do get him the ball inside.
"I thought he was very active and created a lot of problems for them even though they're bigger, so that helped. I thought Luke Thomas caused a lot of problems up top just guarding 94 feet and Luke did that all game long, so it says a lot about him and what he brings to the table for us."
With some new faces in his lineup, Johnson certainly knew his team would take some lumps. While there are quite a few things to fix, the second-year head coach is enthused by his team’s competitiveness.
"Our effort is really good every night and we have got high-character kids with great motors and they're not going to quit," Johnson said. "That's something that is a positive and that's instilled in this community. That's the kind of kids that we have in the community and that's why I'm appreciative to coach them."
Johnson also gave props to the blue and gold contingent, especially a certain "crew." Unlike the ESPN crew, though, these "broadcasters" won’t travel the country.
They prefer the friendly confines of James O. Maddox Court.
"That's what it's about," Johnson said. "When you look back on it, obviously you want to win. I'm as competitive as possible. I want to win every game and it killed me that we're losing and we've lost three in a row.
"We're trying to find every way we can, but the memories of the GameDay we did out there and the crowd is something that the kids will take with them. Now we just have to find the pieces and parts and the right combinations of things to get the W on the scoreboard."