Four-overtime game was one for the ages

An overtime game in basketball is exciting at any level, but multiple overtimes can push the drama to heights unseen.

But what about a four-overtime game … in the championship semifinals … of a national tournament?

No, it wasn't NCAA Division I, but Concordia of Irvine's amazing quadruple overtime 124-119 victory in the NAIA semifinals Monday against unbeaten and top-ranked Robert Morris figures to reverberate for some time. It was the highest-scoring and second-longest game in the tournament's 70-year history.

ESPN even devoted the lead to "SportsCenter" to document the occurrence, with anchor Stuart Scott boo-yahing with the same enthusiasm he'd have for Duke-Carolina highlights.

There were even a few players with local ties right in the middle of all the excitement.

Keith Lawrence (Moorpark HS/Moorpark CC) pushed the game into the fourth overtime when he made an off-balance three-point basket at the buzzer. Lawrence, a 5-foot-11 junior guard who finished with 16 points, also made two free throws in the fourth overtime to give Concordia a 122-119 lead with 19 seconds left.

Nathan Klitzing (Orange Lutheran HS), a 6-4 senior guard, made two free throws with 0.4 seconds left for Concordia's final points.

Lawrence was one of the top players off the bench for the Eagles this season, averaging 7.9 points and leading the team in assists with 69 during the regular season.

In the aftermath of its thrilling victory, Concordia was forced to play for the title the next night, losing to Oklahoma City, 79-71. The Eagles actually took an early eight-point lead but simply ran out of gas.

"I suspected we were tired when we stopped making shots and we started airballing free throws," Concordia Coach Ken Ammann told the Associated Press. "We couldn't play as good of defense as we normally play and we couldn't shoot the ball. It's hard to win like that, especially against a really good team. But last night was a special memory we will never forget."

Leora Juster (Venice HS) scored a game-high 26 points to lead UC San Diego to a 71-61 upset win over second-seeded Glenville State in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II women's basketball tournament at Kearney, Neb., on Wednesday.

Juster, a 5-8 senior guard, helped the Tritons come back from a 15-point first-half deficit and they eventually took the lead at 48-47 on a jump shot by Juster with 10:33 to play. Juster, who has started all but two of her 114 career games and was the NCAA Division II West Region player of the year as a junior, averages 22.7 points and 5.5 rebounds.

Juster also is the school's all-time leading scorer — a feat she accomplished last season — with 2,037 career points.

UC San Diego (27-4) will face Southern Connecticut State in a semifinal game Thursday. The championship game is Saturday.

Elsewhere, Texas A&M Commerce, which features former local players Tradawn Short (Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon HS) and Tarika Campbell (Long Beach Wilson HS), lost to Clayton State, 60-55, in another Elite Eight game Wednesday. Short scored a team-high 18 points on seven-for-11 shooting and was four for four from the free-throw line. Campbell missed all four of her shots and scored one point.

Terrell Burgess (L.A. King-Drew HS), a junior guard for Metro State College in Denver, recently completed his season with a loss in the second round of the NCAA Division II men's tournament. Burgess, a Compton native, had 11 points in a tough 70-68 loss to Mankato State. For the season, Burgess averaged 7.6 points and earned defensive player of the year honors in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Metro State finished the season 28-4.

Two former local players recently completed their men's basketball seasons for Xavier University of New Orleans, an NAIA school. Senior forward-center Aaron Burgess (Murrieta Valley HS), who began his career at San Francisco State, averaged 3.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 13.3 minutes. Freshman forward Cornelius Kennedy (L.A. Crenshaw HS) was a top player off the bench for the Gold Rush, averaging 5.4 points, 3.9 rebounds (second on the team) and 18.9 minutes. Xavier (22-10) lost to Northwestern Oklahoma in the second round of the NAIA tournament.

Brian Smith (Thousand Oaks HS) has been hired as offensive line coach at Portland State where former NFL coach Jerry Glanville recently took over. Smith, a 1998 graduate at Thousand Oaks, played at Hawaii where Glanville had been coaching. Smith was the running backs coach for Cal Lutheran in 2005 and most recently was a graduate assistant at Oregon State.

Jessica Parenti-Otte (Glendora HS) was recently named the Western Athletic Conference gymnast of the week after finishing second for Utah State in the all-around competition in a tri-meet against Brigham Young and Oregon State. Parenti-Otte, a fifth-year senior, had a combined score of 39.275, finishing second on the balance beam (9.8) and tied for second on the parallel bars (9.825). Parenti-Otte has finished first in the all-around in three other meets this season.

Sophomore goaltender Brittany Martin (South Torrance HS) has started 22 games for the 23-8-2 Harvard women's hockey team, which is ranked No. 6 in the nation by U.S. College Hockey Online. Martin, who played softball and roller hockey in high school, is No. 3 in the nation in goals-against average at 1.37, save percentage at .944 and is 15-5-1 with six shutouts.

Grant Goeckner-Zoeller (L.A. Windward HS) recently completed his college hockey career at Princeton, passing the 100-point mark. Goeckner-Zoeller, a 6-1, 215-pound forward, had eight goals and 18 assists this season for the Tigers, who reached the second round of the ECACHL tournament before being swept by Dartmouth. For his career, Goeckner-Zoeller finished with 34 goals and 73 assists. He had season highs of 15 goals as a junior and 26 assists as a sophomore.


"From Here To There" is a weekly web-exclusive column that appears Wednesdays. If you are aware of a former area prep standout competing in sports and excelling at the collegiate level or elsewhere, please let us know. Send any leads, tips or ideas to: