Dragas scores 50 as Blue Streaks get past Warriors in OT

Jan. 13—ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — The high winds outside of Edgewood High School caused the lights to dim a time or two in the gymnasium Friday night.

But senior JP Dragas didn't flicker for Madison against the Warriors in a Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division contest.

Dragas poured in 50 points, including the game-winning basket with 10 seconds left in overtime, to help the Blue Streaks hand the Warriiors their first home loss of the season, 69-67.

Aside from the scoring, though, Dragas did just about everything a player can do to help his team pull out a win on the road.

He took a charge from Logan Kray in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, he swooped in to steal an offensive rebound on a missed free throw that gave his team another possession.

Dragas faced double teams and was the focus of the Edgewood defense all night, but still willed his team to victory.

"He's just the ultimate competitor," Madison coach Nick Gustin said of his senior leader and the program's all-time leading scorer. "He's probably one of the most competitive people I've ever been around. When he gets going, it just energizes the rest of our guys.

"He gets the credit for making the plays, but we had our other guys make plays too tonight. But, it's really as he goes, our team just filters and fuels him and I'm glad he's on my team."

Even with all Dragas did, however, he still needed help for his team to get the win.

"The things my team did tonight were incredible," Dragas said. "We were outsized and outmatched a little, but kids came in and gave us real good minutes. The stat sheet may not show it, but we played a really good team game tonight."

Madison (9-3, 5-1 CVC) had a 56-53 lead inside the two-minute mark, but could not hit the free throws needed to put the game away. Kray made them pay with a 3-pointer to give Edgewood a 57-56 lead.

The Warriors (8-3, 3-3 CVC), though, added another point on a free throw, but on the ensuing possession, Dragas initiated contact and got to the line for two shots, which he knocked down to tie the game.

Madison got into the bonus with 3:36 remaining in regulation and Dragas made it count as he would hit 17 of 21 from the stripe.

"He [Dragas] is a good player and he's smart," Edgewood cach John Bowler said. "He's learned how to initiate contact and go up and shoot."

Madison got into the bonus with 3:36 remaining in the fourth quarter. The new rule this year gives a team two free throws after the fourth foul and Dragas took advantage.

"The new rule can either help you or really hurt you, it hurt us a couple of times this year, but tonight it really helped us" he said. "I'm so used to playing against contact that I know how to draw the foul. With this new rule, you can get five fouls on a team quickly and that really helped us tonight."

In overtime, the Warriors took a 63-59 lead, but Dragas pulled up and knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game.

Then, after a defensive stop, he pulled down an offensive rebound, and the Blue Streaks buried a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to put Madison up 65-63.

Gustin said that while there's no question about who his star is, it was the other guys coming up big that make all the difference.

"That's kind of how it's been all year," the coach said. "Yes, JP is going to get what you need to be in that position. But to win a game, a conference game, on the road against a team in the hunt, someone else has to step up and I'm really happy for Noah. He's worked really hard all year."

Jacob Ernst tied the game at 65 with a pair of free throws, but Dragas once again answered with a pair of free throws.

A drive by Kray tied it again, but once again, Dragas scored at the other end for the final basket.

A 3-point attempt by Kray at the buzzer went off the back iron, sending the visitors into a frenzy.

But, even the coach that did not win had to appreciate the moment.

"This was just a really good high school basketball game," Bowler said. "We missed a couple of layups, had some bad fouls and missed a lot of foul shots."

It was Edgewood's second overtime game of the week. On Tuesday, they defeated Jefferson 77-72 in double OT.

Kray paced the Warriors with 23 points, followed by Thorr at 20 and Ernst with 18.

Next up, Edgewood will be at Conneaut next Tuesday while Madison goes home for Painesville Harvey the same night.