It took four extra minutes of action, but Rice Memorial went on to capture the Division One State Championship Thursday Night, 48-40 over St. Johnsbury. Rice, the third seed in the State Tournament, wins it's 13th title all time and third in the last five years. St. Johnsbury loses for the first time this season, ending the year 23-1.
Rice tied the game at 37 with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a Tommy Fitzgerald Lay-up. St. Johnsbury could not get a shot of in the closing seconds of the quarter, leading to overtime. The Green Knights outscored the Hilltoppers 11-3 in the OT, scoring the first 7 points.
The top seed Hilltoppers jumped out to a 10-3 lead after the first quarter. Jacob Grinbergs scoring 3 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in the first. He ended the game with a team high 11 points and 9 rebounds.
Rice responded in the second quarter, led by Casey Tipson and Marcus Willingham. At one point, the senior duo of Casey Tipson and Marcus Willingham combined for 22 for the Green Knights 24 points. Tipson finished with 14 points, while Willingham led all scorers with 17 points.
The third and fourth quarter were about even, but the game seemed to change after St. Johnsbury big man, Vlad Cobzaru fouled out with 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Romanian foreign exchange student, playing on an injured ankle, scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds in 23 minutes.
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