Jackson Memorial outlasts rival Jackson Liberty in overtime

Jackson Memorial High School boys' basketball player Matt Mahala drives down the baseline to the hoop during the team's game against Jackson Liberty High School on Jan. 11. Mahala scored a team-high 19 points in Jackson Memorial's 55-52 overtime victory over Jackson Liberty.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Jackson Memorial High School boys' basketball player Matt Mahala drives down the baseline to the hoop during the team's game against Jackson Liberty High School on Jan. 11. Mahala scored a team-high 19 points in Jackson Memorial's 55-52 overtime victory over Jackson Liberty.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

Rivalry Game.

Overtime.

The Jackson Memorial High School and Jackson Liberty High School boys’ basketball teams played a game on Jan. 11 that had all of that and much more in what will go down as another great chapter in the rivalry.

Coming out the winner in this overtime clash was Jackson Memorial, holding off host Jackson Liberty in the final minute of overtime for a 55-52 victory to improve to 6-2 on the season.

“We have been preaching composure since day one,” said Jackson Memorial coach Kevin McQuade. “It was gut check time for us. The rivalry game played into that. They battled hard. Matt (Mahala) and Sean (Slusak) made some big shots for us. Everybody on the team chipped in to get the win.”

Senior Matt Mahala came through just enough at the free-throw line in overtime for the Jaguars, knocking down five-of-eight free-throw attempts from the strike to give him a team-high 19 points in the contest.

Mahala’s two successful free-throw attempts with 23.8 seconds extended the Jackson Memorial lead to 54-47.

Junior Sean Slusak added in 12 huge points for the Jaguars.

Senior Bryce Bailey led the way for Jackson Liberty, firing in  a game-high 25 points in the contest.

In the final seconds of regulation, Bailey banked home a three-pointer before the buzzer to force overtime.

Senior Manny Clay finished with 10 points for the Lions, who dropped to 1-6 on the season.

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