Log in

Tigers tumble in overtime at Glendale, despite freshman Pickren's 28 points

OZARK'S HUDSON ROBERTS defends a Glendale shot.
OZARK'S HUDSON ROBERTS defends a Glendale shot.

SPRINGFIELD — Ozark didn’t respond well Tuesday to its first overtime in more than two years, as the Tigers fell 82-76 to Glendale on Tuesday.

After holding a seven-point first-half lead and being up by three with :44 remaining in regulation, Ozark crumbled in the extra period, falling behind by as many as 11.

“I think we were devastated that we couldn't win in the first four quarters,” forward Kylan Pickren said. “That’s not an excuse. We should have gone out and competed and won the overtime.”

The Tigers’ troubles actually began late in the fourth quarter, when they missed six straight free throws during one stretch.

Ozark also missed its only two free throws in overtime. Glendale outscored the Tigers 8-0 on freebies in overtime.

Ozark tried to work for the final shot of regulation, but never got a shot off, instead turning the ball over. The Tigers had to survive a Glendale shot attempt to win at the buzzer.

"We were supposed to run it down to :10 and run a set play,” coach Mark Schweitzer said. “But for some reason, even after drawing it up, we weren't in the right spots. We didn't execute.”

Ozark started the extra period by turning the ball over on its first two possessions.

“That's tough to overcome in overtime,” Schweitzer said. “When you don't take care of the ball and don’t make free throws in crunch time, losses happen.”

Ozark had won 10 in a row when reaching 70 points dating back to the 2021-22 season. 

The Tigers’ offense couldn’t have been much better in the first half. At the midpoint of the second quarter, they were 15-of-21 from the field while holding a 33-26 lead.

“(Glendale has) a lot of firepower on offense and we had to keep place with them. We did that,” Schweitzer said. “We were efficient in the fist half. It was a good start. The kids went after the rim and were aggressive. We got the ball inside and Kylan hit some shots.”

“We started out great,” Pickren sad. “That was the goal. We wanted to come out with energy. Our first half was great.”

Pickren maintained a hot hand all night en route to a 28-point performance. It surely ranks as one of the highest scoring games, if not the highest, for a freshman in Ozark history.

“This was what I wanted. But I didn't think it was possible,” Pickren said of having such a big night so early in his career. “Early in the season, (coaches) were telling me to shoot more, look for my shot and stop deferring. I've been trying to work on that. This game definitely helped with that a lot. I need to keep producing.”

Hudson Roberts netted 20 points and Jace Whatley had 16.

Another promising development on the night for Ozark was the emergence of Sam Clark off the Tigers’ bench. He played more than he has all season and provided stout defense and much-needed energy and athleticism. 

“He's been playing great on the jayvee level and has been consistently showing energy in practice,” Schweitzer said. “That needs to be rewarded. Sam helped us immensely. He does a lot of little things and doesn't care if he scores. When you think about rounding out a team, he's a good fit with trying to get Hudson and Kylan shots.” 

“I know my role,” Clark said. “If (Schweitzer) is confident in me, I can be confident in myself. It really makes me play harder.”

Clark flustered Glendale guard Amare Witham. In regulation, Witham was sporadic while shooting low-percentage shots at will. But once Clark fouled out early in the overtime, Witham starred, scoring 10 points in the extra period. 

“I was proud of myself,” Clark said. “We were in his face the whole time, It wasn’t like he was getting easy buckets. He still had (33) points. Bu you can't be too mad about it.”

Ozark is 5-12, just as it was a year ago after 17 games. The Tigers closed regular-season play last season by winning eight of 10 games. 

Schweitzer’s team will begin COC play net week at home versus Willard.

"We have to keep picking ourselves back up and keep trying to get better,” Schweitzer said. “We are getting better. It just needs to pay off in the form of wins for our confidence and for belief in ourselves.”