Blake Gobel knocked down the go-ahead free throw with 9.7 seconds left in OT as the Braves extended win streak to five

PAMPLIN MEDIA: JIM BESEDA - Gladstone's Damian Zaines (20) drives around Banks' Dakota Bunn (3) during the first half of Friday's non-conference boys' basketball game at Gladstone High School. Banks won 62-60 in OT.Gladstone High School's boys' basketball team was in a perfect position to put away Friday night's home against No. 2 Banks with 10 seconds remaining in regulation time.

All the Gladiators had to do was hang onto the ball.

Easier said than done.

Banks' Dakota Bunn converted a Gladstone turnover into a basket that sent the game into overtime and Blake Gobel knocked down the go-ahead free throw with 9.7 seconds to play in OT as the Braves scratched out a 62-60 road win over the Gladiators.

"That was crazy," said Gobel, who finished with 14 points and was one of three Banks players to score in double figures. "The atmosphere was crazy, the crowd was awesome, and it was huge for us to get that win."

The game featured seven lead changes and five ties and was knotted at 60-60 when Gobel took the ball to the basket and drew a foul from Gladstone's Jackson Simmons.

Gobel, the Braves' 6-foot-7 senior post, missed the first throw and then made the second to give Banks a 61-60 lead.

"I was definitely a little nervous," Gobel said. "I tried to stay calm and finished my follow through, and I got that last one, so it was sweet."

After another Gladstone turnover, the Gladiators were forced to foul Hayden Vandehey, who made one of two free throws with 0.4 seconds left to help the Braves (6-1) seal their sixth straight win.

"I'm pleased to come out of here with a win because this easily could have gone Gladstone's way tonight," Banks coach Marcus Roche said. "Gladstone is such a well-coached team and they play so hard. We knew we were in for a dogfight."

The Gladiators, coming off an 83-76 loss in double-overtime to Stayton on Tuesday, had a chance to put Friday's game away when they were leading by two, 53-51, and had the ball with 11.1 seconds remaining.

Damian Zaines received an inbound pass from Drew Pulsipher and drew an immediate double-team from Banks Dakota Bunn and Jarred Evans. Zaines then lost the ball to Evans and he passed it to Vandehey, who missed on a lay-in attempt only to see Bunn clean up the miss and score at the buzzer to tie it at 53-53.

"To be honest, I was looking to just turn and go," Zaines said. "They had two guys come at me, so I panicked a little. I was looking for my teammates and couldn't find them, so I threw a bad pass sideways and they intercepted it.

"That's two close games in the same week that I think we should have come out on top of, and it just so happened that it slipped away, but we'll get 'em next time."

Crunching numbers

Banks' Jacob Slifka led all scorers with 24 points, Bunn added 21, and Gobel had 14 -- three players accounting for 59 of the Braves' 62 points.

Jade Ashpole paced Gladstone with 18 points, Zaines finished with 11, and Jeremy DeVoe and Pulsipher had eight each as the Gladiators (2-3) lost their third in a row.

"At the end of regulation, we made some bad decisions that sent the game to overtime," said Ashpole, the 6-4 sophomore wing. "Then in OT, we had a chance, but we just didn't execute."

If the Gladiators had it do over again, what should they have done differently.

"We needed to slow down and dictate the tempo a little more," said Zaines, the Glads' senior point guard. "Banks went on a run and a couple of times we tried to play up-tempo, tried to play at their tempo, which was a mistake.

"We should have slowed down, kept our heads screwed on straight and executed our offense the way we know how."

Despite the loss, Gladstone coach Cody Aker was encouraged by almost everything he saw from his team.

"In our post-game locker room, everything was, 'Hey, pick your heads up,' and that was coming from the players," Aker said. "It was some cliche stuff, but all of it was meaningful in that they all understand and want a common goal.

"You know, Stayton and Banks are both title contenders and we took both of them to the wire, so I'm very optimistic when it comes to what our potential run can look like later on this season. I think we can be there. I think we can battle. We have some very skilled individuals."

The Gladiators return to action Tuesday when they play host to Portland Adventist Academy, and then they travel to Turner to play in the Dec. 21-22 Cascade Tournament.

After Christmas, Gladstone travels to Sisters for the Dec. 27-29 Sisters Holiday Tournament and a possible rematch with Banks, depending on how the brackets play out.

"This loss hurts, but I know where we're at and I feel like we're easily a contender for a state title," Ashpole said. "We made some mistakes that cost us tonight, but this team will be alright."

BANKS 14 19 7 13 9 -- 62

GLADSTONE 17 10 16 10 7 -- 60

Banks (62) -- Jacob Slifka 24, Bunn 21, Vandehey 1, Cameron 1, Gobel 14, Exline 1, Evans, Klein, Hiestand.

Gladstone (60) -- Jude Ashpole 18, Tacha 6, Lehrbach 3, Zaines 11, DeVoe 8, Pulsipher 8, Simmons 6, Kuhn, Boyd.

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