Walton shot 48 percent from the free-throw line Friday night, and Marietta took full advantage in scoring a 91-89 double-overtime win over Walton in a Region 5AAAAA game at Marietta Garden.
Unfazed after Walton’s Josh Lyle hit a buzzer-beating shot from beyond halfcourt to force the second overtime, Dansby Swanson nailed an open jumper on Marietta’s first possession after the Blue Devils (9-3, 4-0) won the jump ball. He then hit a 5-footer with a little less than 2 minutes to play to extend Marietta’s lead to three, and that ended up being enough.
Swanson finished the night with 23 points.
“I liked how we executed offensively,” Marietta coach Matt Lyons said. “I think we moved the ball well and got some high-percentage shots. I think we only had eight turnovers in the game. In a double-overtime game — good gracious, that’s pretty good.”
Marietta may have shot well for most of the game, but the Blue Devils missed free throws down the stretch and Walton (7-5, 1-2) couldn’t take advantage.
Trailing 90-89, the Raiders had a chance to win with 10.4 seconds left after Marietta’s Jonathan Fowler missed a pair of shots at the line. Sean Morgan, who led Walton with 37 points, attempted to draw a foul by going inside, but he was called for a charge.
Walton was forced to foul following Swanson’s inbounds pass and Damon Mitchell made one of two free throws to give the Blue Devils a two-point lead with 3.9 seconds left. In the Raiders’ final possession, Anthony Jennings stole John Gibson’s pass to seal the victory.
For Walton, none of this would have been necessary if it had made just a few more free throws in its 21-for-40 showing.
Only seven times did Walton make both of its attempts on a single trip to the line.
Rico Overall, a 74-percent free-throw shooter going into the game, was only 5-of-14 Friday and missed three sets of free throws in the second half and the two overtime periods.
The misses that proved most costly came late in the first overtime period when Overall missed a pair of shots that could have tied the game with 5.4 seconds remaining. Had he made the attempts, the long 3-pointer from Lyle at the end of the first overtime would have been a game-winner.
“(Overall) won’t shoot like that again,” Walton coach Joe Goydish promised.
Marietta may not have won had it not shot so well after the first quarter.
After falling behind by 10 points at the end of the first quarter by seeing too many opportunities missed, the Blue Devils then seemed to have difficulty missing. They climbed back in the game with a run of 17 unanswered points that started on their final first-quarter possession.
Then, the game turned into a back-and-forth affair, one with multiple turns.
Walton played the first quarter as if it was on its way to a one-sided victory, going 8-for-13 from the field as Marietta shot less than 25 percent.
Then, the roles reversed in the second quarter, with Walton only taking nine shots. Marietta maintained its five-point halftime lead until early in the fourth quarter, when Morgan tied it at 55-all on a three-point play.
With 10 seconds left in regulation, Overall hit a layup to tie the game at 71-all. Walton ended up getting a steal, but it couldn’t get a shot before time expired.
Mitchell came off the bench to lead Marietta with 24 points, 22 coming in the second half. Jennings was also in double figures with 13 points, and Jaylen Hill and Brandon Martin had eight points each.
For Walton, Overall finished with 21 points, Lyle finished with 11 and Chris Wingate added eight. Morgan pulled down 13 rebounds to go with his big point total.
Marietta 72, Walton 29: After shooting 26.1 percent from the field in the first half, the fifth-ranked Lady Blue Devils found more success in the second, and used a 25-7 fourth-quarter run to pull away.
Marietta’s defense also held up, holding Walton to single-digit point totals in three of the four quarters.
Jasmine McSwain led the Lady Blue Devils (11-2, 4-0) with 15 points. Trana Hopkins, Courtney Sprague and Kehera Wilson finished with 10 apiece.
Lyric Hancock, Kate Dozier and Meredith Singer each scored seven points to lead Walton (2-10, 0-3).