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The West Side Eagles punched their ticket to the 1A state finals in an exciting way. They beat the Izard County Cougars in overtime 66-62.

Overtime in the semifinals of the state tournament is a dream for many kids.

For the Izard County Cougars and the West Side Eagles that became a reality Monday afternoon at Brady-Hipp Arena during the 1A state tournament.

Both teams traded leads several times throughout the game and even in overtime.

After the four extra minutes it was the Eagles who punched their ticket to the state tournament with a 66-62 win over the Cougars.

Both teams came out fast in the first quarter.

Jake Ballard blocked a Cougars’ shot and Ashton Klepko, who scored in the beginning of the game and the end, first quarter and overtime, hit a layup to give West Side their first lead.

The Eagles went on an 8-2 run to open up the contest. After cutting into the Eagles’ lead, Caleb Faulkner hit a layup at the 3:40 mark to give the Cougars their first lead. He finished with 23 points before fouling out in overtime to lead the Cougars in scoring.

After a back and forth game from both teams the Cougars led 16-15 after the opening frame.

Coby Everett had to come out of the game in the first quarter after he committed three fouls. Despite only playing just over two quarters he put up 11 points for the Cougars.

Travis Gentry hit Zack Birmingham for an alley oop to score the Eagles’ first points in the second quarter and give them the lead once again.

Faulkner tied the game at three shortly after.

After the Eagles took a lead at the 5:04 mark, the Cougars went on a small run. They finished the half with a seven point advantage.

Everett came back in the game after the break to hit a three to open up scoring in the third quarter.

The Cougars tried to push their lead to double digits, but could never make it. The Eagles went on a small run to close out the quarter, but the Cougars held a 46-37 lead headed into the fourth quarter.

The Cougars held a lead until the 2:27 mark of the final quarter. Brenton Knapp only had four points, but his two biggest came from the free throw line to give the Eagles their first lead since early in the second quarter.

With the score tied, the Cougars got the ball with under a minute left. They held until the six second mark and called a timeout. They could not get their layup to fall and the game had to go into overtime.

The Cougars won the tip in overtime and scored first. Everett hit a pair of layups at the 3:25 mark.

Both teams traded free throws throughout overtime. There was no field goals made by either team in the final seven minutes of the game.

After forcing a couple of turnovers, the Eagles used their free throws to give themselves a two possession lead with under 15 seconds to play. The Eagles went 10-12 from the free throw line in overtime, while the Cougars went 6-6.

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