STOW, Ohio -- University School and Kenston showed they were willing to go the extra mile -- make that three miles -- to keep a journey going.
The two teams played through three overtimes Wednesday before University School emerged with a 62-60 victory in the first game of a Division II district semifinal doubleheader.
The win sends the Preppers into Saturday's 3 p.m. title game against top-seeded Benedictine, which eliminated Aurora in the second game.
That the first game would last 44 minutes should come as no surprise. University School, a district champ last year at Mentor, was seeded second. Kenston, Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division champ, was third. Both teams were 18-3 coming in. No more than six points separated the two at the end of any period. US had a 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Kenston pulled into a 16-16 halftime tie. US had a 32-30 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"There were heroes on both sides," said Kenston coach Josh Jakacki.
Senior Matt Kelly led US with 14 points and nine rebounds and senior Richard Morrow scored 13 points and had eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:50 to play in the second overtime. He also had what appeared to be a game-winning basket disallowed at the end of the first overtime.
The Preppers, ranked 13th in The Plain Dealer Top 25, won the game when sophomore guard Jordan Barham made three of four free throws in the final 25.6 seconds.
Kenston, ranked 24th in The Plain Dealer, was led by Jack Rolf's 20 points, and 18 points and 12 rebounds by Eric Truog. The 6-8 sophomore, who averaged 14 points and 12 rebounds, sent the game into the first and second overtimes. He made a 10-foot baseline jumper with two seconds left in regulation and his layup with 10.6 seconds to go extended it another period.
University School's Harry Briggs forced the final session with a layup with one second remaining.
"I told our guys that this game made me more nervous than any game we've played in two years," said US coach Chris Osolin, whose team threw a scare into eventual state champ St. Vincent-St. Mary in last year's regional final.
"Kenston was very hard to prepare for because they have the big guy and the four guys around him do a nice job. They are very well coached and they play such good defense."