CHAUMONT — Again Copenhagen pushed Lyme to overtime and again it ended in heartbreak.
A month after the Golden Knights almost upended the No. 3 team in the state, Lyme turned them away once more, this time in double overtime, 74-66, Tuesday night.
Despite the efforts of Copenhagen’s Lucas Graves, who finished with a team-high 25 points, 17 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime, Lyme prevailed in the dramatic Frontier League “D” Division boys basketball game before a packed house in the Lyme gym.
Lyme (14-1 overall, 13-0 division) outscored Copenhagen 10-2 in the second overtime, thanks to key second chances and its performance at the free throw line. Twice during the game Lyme held at least a 10-point lead, but it was never safe. But for the Indians, the game wasn’t about the score, it was about the possession.
“It’s just make the right basketball play,” Lyme’s Isaiah Wilson said. “I trust my teammates and I know that if I get two on me and I hit the open guy, they’ll make a play. And I trust them and it was just about making the right basketball play.”
Wilson finished with a team-high 33 points. He didn’t play in Lyme’s first game against Copenhagen this season due to injury.
“They just don’t give up,” Wilson said of Copenhagen. “If you get a lead you’re going to have to stay resilient and keep pushing it because they’re not going to give up.”
Graves made certain Lyme would work for the victory.
With 16 seconds to go in the first overtime and the shot clock below five, the junior received a pass from Keegan Morrow and pulled up for a three that fell through the hoop with a swish to tie the game 64-64. Lyme had a few seconds to respond but was unable to put Copenhagen (12-3, 11-2) away and the teams headed for a second overtime.
Lyme started the second half with the teams tied 30-30 and knew it needed to adjust its defensive strategy. By that point, Lyme had been burnt by Cody Powis who hit four threes in the first half. So in the second half, the Indians came out in a triangle-and-two defense that isolated Gaumes on Cody Powis and Jake Bombard on Keegan Morrow, the Golden Knights’ leading scorer.
“It’s not about scoring every time, it’s about getting stops on defense. Stops will lead to scores.” said Gaumes, who scored 17 points. “We took those two out of the game and that helped us a ton. We played man-to-man on those two while the rest were in a zone.”
By the time the crowd trickled out of Lyme’s gym, they had plenty to talk about. The rivalry game between two of the top Class D teams in the state made the milestones achieved by Wilson and Gaumes earlier feel like a distant memory.
On Lyme’s very first offensive possession of the game, Wilson swished in a shot for a three, surpassing the 2,000-point mark in his career. Later in the third, Gaumes busted up the baseline and laid in a bucket for the 1,000th of his career. Both players were acknowledged by the crowd after their achievements.
“That’s pretty impressive right there, to have two guys get that milestone in the same night,” Lyme coach Leo Wilson said. “I’m proud of them both, both of them have worked hard for what they’ve gotten.”
Several players on the court paid tribute to basketball Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash over the weekend. A few players from both teams sported his shoe brand, including Gaumes, who wore his purple-and-gold Kobe NXT 360’s.
When asked about what the superstar meant to him, he shook his head.
“Watching him as a kid was everything, we’d sit down, my dad and I, watch some TV and everything was ‘is Kobe Bryant playing? Which number is Kobe Bryant, dad?’” Gaumes said.
Isaiah Wilson had a similar sentiment. “He meant a lot to me, me and my brothers would just sit there and watch Kobe highlights,” he said. “If he had a bad game he would just stay after it and keep working hard.”