Justin Florence tied the game with under 30 seconds to play and Greg Brown took over in overtime to help Vandegrift get back to its winning ways Tuesday night.
The Vipers beat Vista Ridge 77-73 in overtime after Florence converted a three-point play at the end of regulation. Brown scored seven of his 40 points in the extra period to help Vandegrift stave off the Rangers.
“We’re not shy from close games,” Vandegrift head coach Cliff Ellis said. “We’re used to this kind of game. Especially in our district where anybody can play on any given night, the old cliche holds true.”
In addition to 40 points from Brown and 14 from Florence, Justin Moore was the only other Vandegrift player to score more than three points in the game and finished with 15.
Bryant Burton led Vista Ridge with 24 points — including five 3-pointers — and Darius McBride added 18. Lucas Dial finished with 12 points and Jacob Taute had 10 points for the Rangers.
Vista Ridge drew four charges throughout the game, so when the call was a block on the Vipers’ final possession of regulation, the Rangers’ bench was not happy. Vista Ridge had a chance to win the game on the ensuing possession with a wide open jumper, but the shot clattered off the rim.
“That was an iffy call,” Vista Ridge coach Clint Anderson said. “If we get a charge, it’s ballgame in our favor. Then we get a look from 10-footer from the short corner. That’s his shot, he just didn’t knock it down.”
Burton scored nine points in the first quarter to help Vista Ridge build an 18-15 lead. But Vandegrift came back to cut the game to 31-30 at the half.
McBride came had his big quarter out of the locker room, scoring nine points and helping the Rangers extend the lead to 45-41.
Then Brown took over. He scored 14 points in the final quarter and seven more points in overtime, including hitting a pair of 3-pointers and going 7 for 9 from the free throw line over that span.
“He’s making everybody around him better,” Ellis said. “He’s made that jump in his leadership. He can really take over a game. No matter who’s guarding him, he can get his shots and he can get to the rim. He’s a special player.”
Vandegrift has a bye on Friday before traveling to face Hays next Tuesday. Vista Ridge hosts the Rebels Friday at 7:30 p.m. before a road game at Lake Travis next Tuesday night.