NILES - Ron Price cringed at what he saw from Kymone Gamble.
He wanted his senior guard to pull the ball out to the perimeter with 37.1 seconds remaining in overtime.
Gamble, who had 14 points, bobbed and weaved through Girard's stifling mass of players that seemingly thwarted the guard's every dribble and movement.
Tribune Chronicle / Dave Dermer
Girard’s Dylan O’Hara, right, and Niles’ Ray Russ battle for a loose ball after a missed rebound. Niles won in overtime, 79-76
He found a minuscule opening and shot an 8-foot jumper on the left wing.
It swished through the hoop to give Niles a three-point edge and eventual 79-76 victory Tuesday at War Memorial Gymnasium.
"That was one I yelled, 'No'," Price said. "That was a heckuva shot Kymone made. We wanted a layup in that situation. There's some young kids out there that haven't played varsity.
"That's one we'll be laughing about tomorrow."
Girard (2-3), with plenty of time to spare, was focused on sending this to another overtime.
Craig Randall, who had a game-high 28 points, missed a 3 from the corner with 17.7 seconds left. The missed shot ricocheted off a Niles player out of bounds, giving the Indians one more opportunity.
Evan Standohar, who had 17 points, misfired on a 3.
Ray Russ, who grabbed the rebound for Niles and had a team-high 27 points, lost his footing and turned the ball over once again with 10.8 seconds left.
Standohar then missed another 3 from the corner, but the miss bounced off a Niles player out of bounds with 3.4 seconds remaining.
Randall's off-balance 3 from the corner missed and Russ grabbed the rebound to preserve the win for the Red Dragons (4-2).
Girard was 9 of 29 from 3.
"Just didn't make a play," Girard coach Craig Hannon said of his team's last-second opportunities. "Not the kids' fault. Not anyone's fault. Didn't go in the hoop. We got good looks at it. We got looks we drew up for it. It just didn't fall.
"I can't fault our kids' effort. I can't fault Niles' effort. It just falls that way sometime."
As for Randall, he made some shots fall Tuesday.
"Tonight this was the best he was," Hannon said. "He played great basketball, on both ends of the court. He made some plays we've been looking for him to make. We talked a lot about how he can play and what he can do for us. He did that tonight."
Niles' James Tate put back a missed 3 to tie the game at 71 with 27 seconds left in regulation.
The Red Dragons had one more opportunity to win the game in the final seconds, but Randall stripped the ball away from Russ to force overtime.
However, Girard seemingly had control of the game to start the fourth quarter - up 59-49.
Niles kept chipping away at the Indians lead. Russ drove the lane for a 3-point play with 4:06 left in regulation to cut the Girard advantage to 65-62.
Then, the Red Dragons took advantage of a huge momentum swing 20 seconds later.
One of the three officials stopped quickly in front of the Girard bench and called a technical foul. It wasn't on Hannon or the coaching staff. It appeared to be called on someone lower down on the bench - seemingly befuddling the Indians.
There also was a foul on the play, sending Russ to the line. Before that, Chris Parry, who had 13 points, made both technicals. Russ made both of his shots.
Russ was 11 of 12 from the line.
"That was my best free-throw night ever," Russ said. "I changed up my shot at practice. I usually take a few dribbles and spin. Coach told me to take the spin off and take two dribbles. That's what I did."
It was a better shooting night for Niles, which shot 8 of 20 against Brookfield on Friday.
"We worked on it," Price said. "We worked on our concentration, practiced a little bit better."
And, on the ensuing possession, Tate scored with 3:19 remaining to give Niles a 68-65 lead - a six-point swing stemming from that techinical foul.
"No comment," Hannon said.
Then, Standohar's putback gave Girard a 71-69 lead with 41 seconds left. Standohar had 12 rebounds. Jim Standohar added 11 points.
Hannon said Evan Standohar made some key plays Tuesday.
"Played his rear end off," Hannon said. "Can't fault his effort. He played tremendous basketball. That's the reason we were in the game late and built the lead that we did. We just couldn't maintain it."
Friday, Girard hosts Liberty, while Niles travels to Beaver Local.