For all the ups and downs the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team had to deal with this winter, it still managed to finish on top of the OHSL Freedom American division standings.
Not only that, but in a supremely ironic twist, the Gaelic Knights would get to make up a game that wasn't played in the opening round of the Section III Class A playoffs.
Ludden drew the no. 8 seed with its 12-7 mark and would face no. 9 seed Fowler (11-7) Tuesday in Geddes. The two teams were supposed to meet Feb. 2, but Fowler never showed up, and the Gaelic Knights weren't happy about it.
As fate would have it, Ludden and Fowler got drawn together in the sectional bracket, with the winner to face top seed and defending state champion Jamesville-DeWitt Friday night. J-D will be without star guard Alshwan Hymes, ejected for a flagrant foul in the Red Rams' loss to CBA last Friday that ended a 38-game win streak.
As J-D's streak ended, Ludden was at Cortland blowing a big fourth-quarter lead, only to regroup in overtime and beat the Purple Tigers 55-48.
Roaring out to a 20-7 lead, the Gaelic Knights maintained that margin through the game's middle stages, taking a 42-33 edge to the fourth quarter.
All of a sudden, Cortland came to life, erasing that deficit behind Trevor Williamson (23 points) and Jordan Prior (14 points). With the game tied 48-48 in the last seconds of regulation, both teams missed possible winning shots.
Just as quickly as it had surrendered the lead, Ludden took it back with inspired defense in overtime that kept the Purple Tigers off the board all four minutes.
On the offensive side, Frank Smith had his way in the paint, producing 24 points, while Rick Montgomery helped out with 15 points. Omar Osbourne added six points.