Jason Shields hit from beyond 35 feet to force overtime where NEPA Elite pulled away for a 97-87 victory over K-Low Elite Tuesday night in the second round of the 60th annual Albert C. Donofrio High School Classic at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken.
Ethan Meuser scored 10 of his team-high 25 points to help NEPA Elite outscore K-Low Elite, 16-6, in the five-minute overtime.
NEPA Elite hit all six of its overtime free throws with Meuser, Augie Gerhart and Ben Chilson making two each.
The win sends NEPA Elite back to Conshohocken Thursday to face Cool Hoops in an 8:30 p.m. quarterfinal. There are eight teams left in the 26-team field of the single-elimination event.
NEPA Elite opened a 19-point lead in the first half on the way to a 41-36 lead at the break. K-Low rallied to lead by seven, forcing NEPA Elite to foul late.
“They kept coming back,” NEPA Elite coach Brian Coyle said. “Their pressure affected us and we had a lot of turnovers.”
Following a K-Low free throw for an 81-78 lead with 10 seconds left, NEPA Elite in-bounded the ball and got it to Shields.
Shields had the ball batted away once just after crossing midcourt. He retrieved it in the backcourt and was closely guarded and just a step inside the midcourt in the final second. Shields ducked under a defender, took one stride toward the basket and stuck the long jumper as time expired.
The game-tying 3-pointer was the fourth of the game for Shields, who finished with 18 points.
Shields and Mikey Cumbo each hit two 3-pointers to help NEPA Elite build the first-half lead.
Gerhart was 6-for-8 from the line in the second half and overtime to finish with 14 points. Chilson was 5-for-7 at the line after halftime when he had 9 of his 12 points.
Gabe Tanner added 10 points.
“Gabe Tanner had a good second half,” Coyle said. “He had the ability to get through pressure and then was dropping dimes.”
Ryan Nealon scored all seven of his points after halftime.
Meuser and Gerhart are from The Hill School in Pottstown. Shields is from Scranton, Chilson is from Tunkhannock, Cumbo from Dallas, Tanner from Mid Valley and Nealon from Abington Heights.
The Donofrio Classic is a non-AAU event, so the NEPA Elite team that is entered is a mixture of current and past NEPA Elite Coyle 17U AAU team players.