The BCHS Wildcats pulled away from the hosting Ponte Vedra Sharks in overtime 66-54 on Thursday to advance to the Class 5A Regional Semifinals on February 18.
The Cats outscored the District 4-5A champions 16-4 in the bonus period to pull out the hard-fought win. The team made five of its eight free-throw attempts in overtime to break open the lead and Charles Ruise Jr. (31 points) capped the game off with a last-second dunk.
Ruise dominated the second half of action offensively and made all but one free-throw attempt in the final two quarters. His successful free-throw shot with about 14 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter tied the game at 50. The Cats’ defense held strong against Ponte Vedra playmaker Jackson Johnson to force overtime.
In addition to Ruise’s high-scoring game, Brian Walton and sharpshooter Jesse Gardner both added 13 points.
The Cats will play the winner of the Regional Quarterfinal game between Palatka and Bishop Kenny on February 18 in the Regional Semifinals.
See next week’s edition of The Baker County Press for more details on the overtime win.