Fourth-seeded Bloomfield battled from behind all night, but in the end it was the Wildcats that finished in front of No. 5 Puxico, 72-66, in a triple overtime thriller Tuesday night.
Bloomfield literally snatched victory from defeat on three different occasions during the epic battled that seemed would never end.
It took a late flurry by the Wildcats in regulation to send the game into the first over-time period. It took a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Bloomfield's Zac Goode to extend the game to a second over-time, and it was a drive down the lane by the Wildcats' Brett Ruch with just 17 seconds remaining to force the third and deciding over-time period.
"Really proud of our guys for battling a very good Puxico team tonight," Bloomfield coach Jason Karnes said after the win. " We never could get much going till the end, and we were fortunate we made a couple of shots to extend the game. We had some guys really step up in key situations, both offensively and defensively, to give us the opportunity to play in a semi-final on Thursday."
Bloomfield trailed Puxico 45-37 with just 1:38 remaining in regulation, but the Wildcats rallied behind a 3-pointer from Thomas Sanders from the top of the circle off glass, two strong drives down the lane by Ruch and a 3-pointer by Caleb Baker with four seconds remaining to tie the game at 47-all and force over-time.
The Wildcats again found themselves down by three (57-54) with 13 second remaining, when Goode knocked down a clutch trey from the top of the key to send the game into the game into a second OT.
A 3-point shot by Puxico's Jacob Plunkett and a free throw by sophomore Zac Tucker in the second OT gave the Indians a 63-58 advantage at the 1:36 mark, but Bloomfield again responded.
A trey from Goode in the corner made it a 63-61 game and after a miss by the Indians, Ruch again found his way down the lane for an acrobatic layin with 17 seconds remaining to tie the game. Good defense by the Wildcats prevent a good look at a game-winner by the Indians.
Tucker, who led the Indians with 24 points, picked up his fifth foul early in the third OT and the Indians offense sputter from there. Bloomfield scored the first six points of what would prove to be the finals four minutes of play before Tim Hancock connected on two free throws for Puxico to make it a 69-66 game with just 20 second remaining. Forced to foul, Bloomfield hit 3-of-4 free throws at the end to set the final score.
Ruch finished with a game-high 31 points, despite the senior hitting just 5-of-12 from the free throw line.
The game brought and end to the first round of the SCAA tournament and set the final semifinal pairings for both the varsity and junior varsity brackets.
No. 1 Bernie (15-3) slipped past a determined Bell City squad, 86-59 earlier, while in the junior varsity bracket, No. 2 Dexter beat No. 7 Bell City 56-28, and No. 5 Advance upset No. 4 Puxico, 46-39.
Wednesday will be an off day for the tournament. Semifinal play will open Thursday with JV action where Dexter will take on Bloomfield at 4 p.m., followed by Bernie vs. Advance in the other JV semifinal at 5:30. The varsity semifinals will feature Dexter against Advance at 7 o'clock with the Bernie-Bloomfield tilt getting underway at approximately 8:30.
Bloomfield improved to 10-8 on the year with the win.