SARANAC LAKE — The North Country Community College and Clinton Community College men’s basketball teams were so excited for the start of the basketball season they decided to play a little extra.
Two overtimes, in fact.
The Saints pulled out a 100-94 victory over the Cougars behind a career-high 29 points from sophomore Ian Henderson, who connected on nine 3-pointers.
“It’s always a battle when the two of us (Clinton and North Country) get together,” North Country coach Chad LaDue said. “Having Henderson come off the bench and have a career high was pretty special.”
The Saints took a 43-31 lead at halftime, but Clinton made a switch defensively in the second half that befuddled North Country and allowed the Cougars to take the lead.
“(Clinton coach) Kevin (Daugherty) did a nice job in the second half of changing up the defense,” LaDue said. “It took us awhile to get used to it.
“He’s a great coach and always has those guys ready to play. It’s always a battle when we play them.”
The Cougars held an eight-point lead with 1:23 to go before North Country’s Brody Douglass connected on a 3-point play and Henderson sent the game to overtime with a 3-pointer as time expired.
In the first overtime, the Saints had a chance to win it, but a shot didn’t connect. In the second overtime, a Michael Boyea 3-point play with 2:30 left put North Country ahead by five.
“That play was huge,” LaDue said. “It’s the beginning of the year and to be down eight with no quit in our guys ... I am extremely proud of them.
“This is a great group of guys that play for the institution and each other. The guys that didn’t get in were just as happy with the win. It was a great team effort and a special start to the season.”