Kirk Finley emerged from the Blue Springs locker room with sweat still dripping from his forehead, a scratch across his cheek and his eyes shading toward red.
He took one long, drawn-out breath before uttering his initial reaction to a chaotic extra 12 minutes of basketball.
“I’ve played in long games before,” he said. “But never one like that. I don’t think we’ll forget this one.”
At least not anytime soon.
Blue Springs and Raytown South played three overtimes Friday, with Blue Springs pulling out an 81-76 victory on its home floor.
The two teams exchanged the lead 13 times, though neither team ever held a double-digit advantage. The five-point margin of victory was the largest separation either team enjoyed in any of the three overtime periods.
“I didn’t even know how many overtimes it was,” Blue Springs coach Adam Jones said. “It just seemed like it kept piling on. I can’t remember the last time we were in (a game) that long.”
It nearly lasted even longer.
Raytown South guard Ronyeah Sigars had his game-tying three-point attempt roll across the rim with 5 seconds to play in the third overtime.
That ended a lengthy night, but each team had its chance to walk away with a victory much earlier in the evening.
Blue Springs, 6-5, held a three-point advantage in double overtime, but Raytown South sophomore Brian Trimble erased that with a three-pointer from the right wing with 13.1 seconds left. The Wildcats turned to Finley on the ensuing possession, but his game-winning shot attempt was blocked. Finley finished with 18 points.
Raytown South, 5-6, led for the entire first overtime before Blue Springs guard Taysean Goodwin made one of two free throws with 37.4 seconds left to tie the game, setting up a second overtime.
Unsurprisingly, the third overtime came with one final lead change. Raytown South forward Jabril Cox scored the first bucket, part of his 18-point night. Forward Tyrone Gibbs added 19 more for the Cardinals.
Blue Springs answered with a quick 5-0 run, ignited by a three-point play from Brian Armstrong, who scored a game-high 21 points.
This time, the Wildcats made the lead stick.
Gibbs and Cox each fouled out in the third overtime.
“We’re so young that all that experience is good for them,” Raytown South coach Brad Oestreich said. “I thought we panicked some, which I kind of expected, but we had the grit to keep fighting all the way to the end. I was proud of them.”