Two teams, both with losing records. A mid-January nonleague game without serious ramifications, the Monday night matchup between Estill (Ky.) County High and Bourbon (Ky.) County High seemed to be a perfunctory game on the schedule for both schools.
That's right, six overtimes, in a near-meaningless game for two Kentucky schools ... on a Monday night, allegedly featuring buzzer beaters in three straight overtimes. Anyone who would dare question the passion of high school hoops in the Bluegrass State clearly knows better now.
"It was crazy," Bourbon County coach Jay Bordas told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "We ran out of water, dry-erase marker, chewing gum, and I almost ran out of players."
According to the Herald-Leader and Citizen Voice Times, the game was the longest in the state in two decades. Senior Cade Berryman led Estill with 40 of his team's 102 points, including an amazing 20 for 31 from the free-throw line. Perhaps more amazing, only two of Berryman's free throws came in regulation, with the other 29 coming across the course of the six overtime periods.
"He was phenomenal," Estill County coach Jon Bentley told the Herald-Leader. "Not many kids can withstand that kind of fatigue and still have enough motor at the end."
Yet as incredible as Berryman was -- and you have to be pretty incredible to be a guard and still work your way to the free-throw line for 31 attempts -- he was outdone by Bourbon County's Chris Gilliespie, who pumped in more than half of his team's points, scoring 51.
Eighteen of those 51 points came from behind the 3-point line, 29 came in the overtime periods, and both his overtime and game totals are now believed to be Bourbon County records.
Equally amazing, Gillespie was one of six Bourbon players to foul out during the overtime periods, leaving the Colonels playing almost an entire squad of reserves by the end of the contest.
Eventually, those foul-outs and pure exhaustion helped give Estill County just enough breathing room to hold on for the win, though even that was in doubt until the final whistle. All in a night's work for two teams that were just trying to play out the schedule on a typical January Monday night in Kentucky.