Mt. Hebron perfect 10-0 after 69-64 overtime win

January 13, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

Kevin Tonkins had one bad moment but a bunch of good ones yesterday. And his play made the difference in keeping No. 12 Mount Hebron's unbeaten season going with a 69-64 overtime victory against Hammond.

With 1:37 left in regulation and visiting Mount Hebron (10-0, 2-0) trailing Hammond 58-53, Tonkins missed two free throws for the Vikings, and their nine-game winning streak appeared over.

But Tonkins, a 6-foot-1 junior forward who scored a career-high 25 points by shooting 10-for-16 from the floor, made a big play off of a steal by teammate Steve Dohler (nine assists). Tonkins sank a crucial three-point shot with 1:09 left that pulled the Vikings within 58-56.

"That was huge," Vikings coach Scott Robinson said.

After a Hammond player traveled, Patrick Ngongba's dunk tied it 58-58 with 52 seconds left.

Devon Montoute (24 points, 13 rebounds) scored for Hammond (3-6, 1-1) on a difficult baseline drive with 14 seconds left to make it 60-58.

But with four seconds left Ngongba dunked again to send the game into overtime.

"We had two guys apiece on their three-point shooters, [Mark] Jensen and [Kurtis] Jestes, but a third guy was coming out to Jestes who should have stayed back and Jestes hit him [Ngongba] under the basket all alone," Hammond coach Jack Burke said. "It was one bad decision at the end that cost us the game."

In overtime, Jensen (12 points) hit the biggest shot for Mount Hebron with 1:25 to play. It was a three-pointer that gave the Vikings a 67-64 lead.

Hammond's Tim Spruil then missed a one-and-one opportunity and Ngongba grabbed the rebound. Mount Hebron ran the clock down to 38 seconds before Ngongba was fouled and went to the line. He missed both shots but Tonkins grabbed the rebound.

With 31 seconds left, Jestes was fouled but missed the one-and-one.

Irving Conwell (19 points, 13 rebounds) missed a shot in the lane for Hammond and Jestes (16 points) finished off the Bears by hitting two free throws.

Ngongba, a 6-6 junior center from the Central African Republic, played a crucial role on the boards for the Vikings, grabbing 11 rebounds to go with his 13 points.

"It was a rough game," Ngongba said through a French interpreter. "It was very difficult at the end -- nothing like past games."

Robinson wasn't surprised at the kind of game Tonkins played. "He's shown he is capable of playing like that," he said.

Tonkins, whose previous high game was 17 points against Friends, praised his teammates for coming together and fighting for the win.

"All that was going through my mind at the end was just to play hard," he said. "We thought if we played hard we could win."

Burke said, "I'm disappointed that we lost but not with the way we played. If Mount Hebron is one of the two best teams in the county, then we're just a step behind."

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