But then the Rams (13-5) responded with their best stretch of basketball on this night. They rattled of nine points over the final 2:55 of the quarter to tie the score at 35.
Senior Trevor Holdridge started the run with a baseline jumper. Dylan Cole, who scored a team-high 13 points, scored in transition off a pass from Holdridge to make it 35-30 with two minutes left in the period.
Griff Metzko then made what might have been the toughest shot of the evening. On another fastbreak, Metzko went hard to the basket on the left side and laid up a delicate shot high off the glass that went through the rim as he was fouled with 1:26 to play in the third quarter. Metzko’s free throw made it a two-point spread and Cole tied it after receiving a hit-ahead pass from Holdridge for a layup with 40 seconds left in the quarter.
The last of Reither’s threes came a minute into the fourth quarter and put the Blue Devils ahead, 38-35.
Holdridge answered for SK 30 seconds later on a pull-up jumper from the right elbow to make it a one-point spread. The Rams, playing in their fifth straight DL final and losing for the second straight year, wouldn’t make another field goal.
“The thing I’m proud of is we didn’t surrender any easy buckets,” Marks said of his team’s defense over the final 6 ½ minutes.
Two free throws by Anthony Salcido gave SK a 39-38 lead with 5:44 left.
A layup by Mitch Hull gave Margaretville a 40-39 lead, but Metzko tied the score on a free throw with 4:54 to go.
Dylan Shaffer’s free throw with 4:34 left gave the Blue Devils the lead for keeps at 41-40. It stayed that way until Margaretville center Hull capped his 11-point night by following up his miss to make it 43-40 with 2:15 to play.