By George White
Herald Banner Staff
Joe Tillerson's jump shot from the keyhole with two seconds remaining in the second overtime gave the fired - up Celeste Blue Devils a narrow 61 - 60 victory over the Como Tigers in the Greenville High School Gymnasium on Monday night.
Tillerson's bucket snatched the game from the jaws of a sure Celeste defeat after Como's outstanding 6' 1" sophomore, Charley Harris, hit from fifteen feet out with thirteen seconds showing on the clock. This basket had given the Tigers a 60 - 59 lead and apparent victory, but Tillerson's 18th and 19th points put the game away for the District 43 - B champs.
Jerry Weatherley got the Blue Devils off to a fast opening start as he sneaked in behind Como defenders twice to give Celeste an early 4 - 0 lead. Lloyd Lanier stole the ball at midcourt and drove on in for an easy layup, setting the Blue Devil machine in motion early as they soared out front to a 23 - 9 lead before Como could get their offense rolling. The first quarter ended with Celeste enjoying a 23 - 11 lead.
However, the Devils hit rickety ground as the second quarter opened. Following Weatherley's their layup to start the second stanza Como quickly hit two fielders to narrow the gap to 26 - 15. Celeste proceeded to hit a fielder and a field goal, then had the door slammed in their face the rest of the period. Meanwhile, the Tigers started bombing the nets from far out while Harris did the inside damage, and at the end of the first half, the Devils' twelve-point margin had been cut to four, 30 - 26.
Weatherley hit a long shot to open the second half, but his score was quickly countered by two Como baskets, both by six-foot, Don Hobson. Bud Roach hit from the keyhole to give the Devils a 34 - 30 lead, but a three - point play by Harris narrowed the margin to 34 - 33. Como's Jerry Graham hit it a free throw with 3:10 to go in the third stanza, and for the first time in the game, the score was tied, 34 - 34. After both teams exchanged a couple of field goals, Glenn Graham hit a jumper from the corner with thirty second left to give Como a 37 - 36 lead as the game entered the fourth quarter.
Celeste was never behind in the fourth quarter, but likewise they never could mount the offensive thrust necessary to wrap up the game. Their biggest fourth quarter lead was 45 - 41 with three minutes left when Tillerson hit from under the basket. Graham and Harris each hit fielders to tie the game with 2:20 left, 45 - 45. Then Celeste's Roach and Como's Hobson traded goals as the buzzer sounded, with the scoreboard showing a 47 - 47 deadlock.
The script was the same for the first overtime. Celeste was never behind, but could never move into a commanding lead.
Then came the hair -raising finale. Como got the tip and a quick basket by Hobson put them out in front 55 - 53. Weatherley hit two free throws to knot the score again at 55 - 55, but Como's Jerry Graham hit a fielder to make the score 57 - 55. With thirty seconds remaining in the game Graham once again made a free throw, putting Celeste on the short end of a 58 - 57 score. However, Lloyd Lanier put the Devils right back in the game as he hit with twenty seconds.
(Undated clipping, some missing)
Submitted by Sarah Swindell
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