LONOKE — Dollarway-Monticello was a matchup some people expected to see in Hot Springs for the 4A state championship, but two upsets in the regional finals turned it into a quarterfinal.
The game still lived up to the hype.
Billies point guard Sadaeys Miller scored three of the game’s final four points as they edged the Cardinals, 51-49, in overtime Saturday evening at the Gina Cox Center in Lonoke.
“I thought we showed a lot of courage,” Monticello coach Wayne Sherrer said. “They made some runs at us and we fought for everything.
“But ant time we got momentum they wouldn’t let us get away. They played like champions.”
Dollarway (19-5) was in control with a minute remaining in regulation.
The Cardinals had a two-point lead and the ball, but Miller made a steal and fast break layup to tie the score 49-49.
The bucket was the only one Miller had all game.
“It’s nothing new,” Sherrer said of Miller’s big play. “The box score doesn’t show all he does.”
The Cardinals had a chance to take the lead when Travon King was fouled going in for a layup with 12.6 seconds left. King, who finished with 10 points, missed both free throws.
Monticello (24-4) drove the length of the court but Dollarway’s Kabion Ento blocked the shot out of bounds with 7.6 seconds to go. The Billies called a timeout but couldn’t get a good look as Miller settled for a three-pointer that missed at the buzzer.
D.J. Franklin, who had 11 points for Monticello, grabbed the rebound and was pulled down but the officials waved off any foul and sent the teams to overtime.
The Billies won the tip and seemed content to just pass the ball around the perimeter to begin the overtime period. And the Cardinals seemed content to let them.
“If they are going to stay back, then we’re just going to be patient and look for a good shot,” Sherrer said. “They usually pressure you high but that time they kind of settled back into a 2-3 zone.”
Sherrer got the kind of shot he wanted when Robertson, who had nine points, took a short jumper. The ball rolled off the rim, though, and Dollarway grabbed the rebound.
The Cardinals took a pair of three-pointers on its possession — first by Darieus Robinson and then by Ento — but couldn’t break the deadlock.
On Monticello’s ensuing possession, Robertson got fouled inside and made the front-end of a 1-and-1 to give the Billies the lead at 50-49.
More importantly, though, the foul was the fifth on Ento, who finished his final game with a team-high 11 points.
After Robertson missed the second free throw, Gujuan Christmas tried to give Dollarway the lead but his layup rolled off the rim and ended up in the hands of Miller.
The junior hit the second of two free throws to give Monticello a 51-49 lead.
Dollarway senior Joshua Liddell had a chance to tie the game but his six-foot shot fell short.
The Arkansas football signee was able to get his own rebound and twist on the baseline to get off another potential game-tying shot. This one, though, bounced off the rim and was corralled by Monticello as the final buzzer sounded.
“I’m very proud of them,” Dollarway coach Ellis Berry said of his seniors. “They did everything they wanted to do this year, except reach a state final.
“I can’t say anything bad about them.”
Monticello will take on Brookland, which defeated Lincoln in its quarterfinal matchup, at 5:30 p.m. Monday for a spot in the 4A title game.
The Billies have played the Bearcats this year — albeit very early in the season.
Dollarway has a more recent history with Brookland having been blown out by the Bearcats in the East Region championship game, 56-33.
“I don’t see anybody stopping them,” Berry said of the Bearcats. “I’d like to see (Monticello) win, but it’s going to take a complete ballgame. Coach (Bobby) Gross has them playing really well.