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Deerfield boys win state tourney opener in overtime

Dee Barber led the Knights with 15 points

MACON — Thursday night, the Deerfield-Windsor Knights edged past a scrappy John Milledge team, 64-61, in overtime, to advance to the second round of the GISA AAA state tournament.

The Knights had to fend off a late John Milledge comeback in order to achieve the victory.

“There’s no style points here,” Deerfield coach Gordy Gruhl said. “It’s all survive and advance, and we were able to do that (Thursday).”

The Knights will face either Stratford or Community Christian on Saturday night.

The first quarter got out to a quick start as both teams traded shots within the first 30 seconds of the game. It was back and forth for most of the quarter, but the Knights gained some major momentum towards the end finishing the period on a 10-4 run and led after first quarter 23-16. Knights senior Dee Barber finished the quarter with eight points and was Deerfield’s leading scorer with 15 points.

Deerfield Windsor continued to keep the Trojans in check during the second quarter as the Knights established their second biggest lead of the game, 11 points, before finishing the half up 34-25. At the half the Knights seemed to carry all the momentum.

The second half proved to be quite different as the Trojans began a slow but steady march to get themselves back in the game. The Trojans started off the quarter on a 12-4 run that narrowed the deficit to just two points. The Knights were able to close out the quarter on a good note as they scored the final 3 points of the quarter in the final minute, but it was easy to tell that the Trojans had the momentum.

An exciting fourth quarter ensued with many highs and lows for each team. With just 43 seconds remaining in regulation, the Knights gave themselves a three-point lead. On the next possession for the Trojans, Andrew Prestwood was fouled going up on a shot and was sent to the line for three very important free throws. Prestwood sank all three and sent the game into overtime.

The game was close until the very end, and the Trojans never seemed to ever be out of the game, but a three-point lead became insurmountable in the final ticks of the clock. A final half court heave by Amos Prestwood bounced off the rim to seal the Trojans’ fate.