It's no secret the Saint Patrick boys' basketball team likes to live and die by the three.
On Saturday, they were dying by it in the first half and lived off of it in the second half to prevail in overtime over Villa Madonna, 51-48 in the second day of the St. Patrick Catholic Classic.
The Saints, coming off an overtime loss a little over 12 hours after Saturday's 10 a.m. tip, showed some ill effects of it early on as they dug themselves a 24-10 hole 11 minutes into the game.
"We played late last night and I know I didn't go to bed until about 3 a.m., because I just kept thinking about it. I know these guys were too, so we were a bit slow out of the start," Saints coach Aaron Rigdon said. "I tried to get them out running a bit during warm-ups and before the game, still came out slow, but we ratcheted up the pressure and then finally got going."
Brevin Jones was the one to get the Saints going with his shooting, knocking down two 3-pointers and helping the Saints close on a 14-2 run into halftime, trailing just 26-24 at the break.
"We were struggling early from the field. About the second quarter we started to catch fire and stuck with the gameplan," Jones said. "We felt that pain from last night and getting blown out by Mason County on Tuesday, we didn't want to go out 0-2 on our home court."
The Saints struggled from downtown in the half, knocking down just three of 20 3-point attempts, all from Jones, while they had some success otherwise, hitting six of nine shots from two.
"They've got the green light. They can shoot it, I know they can shoot it," Rigdon said. "We just needed to see a few go in."
The perimeter shots started to fall in the second half, mainly from Jones. Jake Swolsky and Pat McKay got things going to open up the half with triples, then Jones hit one to knot things at 33-all with a little over three minutes to play in the third.
"Our first two games we gave the game away at the start of the third quarter because we came out laxidasical, so we kept the pressure up and moved the ball really well. That opened it up for us," Rigdon said.
The Blue Lightning would close the quarter on a 6-1 run from there, taking a 39-35 lead into the fourth.
Jones then knocked down two more from deep, his last giving the Saints a 45-44 lead with 1:21 to play.
Daniel Gierst gave Villa the lead back on a layup before Baylen Bauer was fouled with eight seconds to play and the Saints trailing 46-45.
Bauer would knock down the first attempt, but miss the second, giving the Blue Lightning one last chance to win it in regulation. Villa would get the ball down the floor and on a loose ball, Gierst collected it and tossed up a layup that went in...but the ball was released from his hands after the horn and the shot was waved off.
To overtime we'd head.
Unlike the night before when the Saints were unable to close out the contest against St. Joseph Central out of Ironton, Ohio, they'd seal the deal on Saturday.
Jones got the scoring started with his seventh 3-pointer of the contest in the extra frame, followed by a Chandler Black free throw, to give the Saints a 50-46 lead with under a minute to play.
Ben Zalla followed with a layup for the Blue Lightning to get them within two and then Jones would hit one of two free throws to make it a 51-48 game with 13 seconds left.
After a timeout, the Blue Lightning would get a shot in the corner, the same spot that St. Joe's tied the Saints on in regulation the night before, but this time Cam Zalla's 3-point attempt went long and the Saints were able to get possession after a deflection out of bounds.
"We just knew we couldn't have that happen again. We just had more energy today on that final play, we had to be men and pull our pants up and finish in overtime in front of our home fans," Jones said.
After the inbounds, a foul wasn't whistled as the buzzer sounded, giving the Saints and Rigdon their first win of the year and Rigdon's first as the Saints head coach.
"This is my first W here, I've lost the last two years in the Green and White game as an assistant. I needed this one probably more than they did. I'm proud of them because the main thing was them playing hard and not giving up," Rigdon said.
Jones led all scorers with 26 points while Jake Swolsky added eight for the Saints, Black and Baylen Bauer had seven points apiece, Black adding seven rebounds.
"We all really have the green light. My teammates did a great job of setting screens, driving the lane and kicking out and did everything they were supposed to do," Jones said.
The win improved St. Pat to 1-2, they'll return to action Tuesday at Bishop Brossart.
The Blue Lightning were led by Ben Zalla's 13 points. Gierst and McIntyre each chipped in eight. Villa dropped to 0-2 on the year and played again later in the day against St. Joe's at 1:30 p.m. The result was not yet reported.