COUNCIL BLUFFS — Zach Flott spent much of his Saturday afternoon at the Mid-America Center as a spectator.
The 6-foot-5 senior post from Ralston sat the final 6:57 of the first half of his team's Jennie Ed Sports Med MAC Shootout game with Abraham Lincoln on the bench with three fouls. His fourth came 33 seconds into the third quarter with his team trailing by 13 points.
The Nebraska Class B No. 4 Rams (4-1) hung around, eventually pulling within eight when Josh Belling's 3-pointer at the third-period buzzer got a friendly roll. Then Flott returned and took over.
The All-Nebraska football lineman dominated in the paint, recording 18 points and 10 rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime as Ralston rallied for a 49-42 victory.
“It (stunk) sitting there on the bench watching my other guys out there kind of having a hard time,” said Flott, who had four points and two boards when he sat in the third. “I'm just thankful they kept us in the game so, when I came back in, I could give us a chance to win.”
A.L. (1-5) didn't help its own cause while dropping its third overtime game of the year. With Flott out, it failed to extend its advantage while going 1 for 14 from the floor in the third.
The Lynx also turned the ball over in the closing seconds of regulation with the game tied.
“These games make you better,” A.L. coach Jason Isaacson said. “At some point, you want to learn some lessons by coming out on the other end. We're playing good basketball and playing very well against some good teams. Closing out games is what it is right now.”
The Lynx, who suffered a two-point road loss Friday, seemed to have things in hand when Flott sat in the third. Ralston's other players had gone 2 for 24 from the field before halftime.
The Rams then turned up their defensive intensity and got two 3s from Belling to stay close.
“We can't just be a one- or two-man show,” Ralston coach Jason Jackson said. “Everybody's got to step up. I thought other people made plays today. And then we got Zach back in the game, got him the ball and he got going.”
Flott's impact was immediate. He scored nine of the first 10 Ram points in the fourth and finished with 10 in the period. Flott had a shot to win the game at the regulation buzzer that didn't fall.
He then scored two early baskets in overtime as Ralston moved in front to stay.
For A.L., it was another missed opportunity in a game it could've won.
“You focus on the end of the game and the fourth quarter, but that third quarter was huge when we didn't stretch it out when he came out of the game,” Isaacson said. “We, offensively, just weren't very smooth.”
Abraham Lincoln (1-5) .......................................... 10 14 5 7 6—42
At Ralston (4-1) .......................................... 4 7 10 15 13—49
AL: Adam Barrett 9, Alex Barrett 7, Kyle Crowl 9, Joe Northrup 3, Tony Bonner 3, Colton Tracy 8, Pharoah Houston 3.
R: Marcellous Gardner 9, DJ Moore 1, Josh Belling 11, Brenan Roebuck 2, Zach Flott 22, Tristin Mikkelsen 2, Scott Passmore 1, Taylor Murphy 1.