CUYAHOGA FALLS: With shifting populations and indifferences that dull the competitiveness, some rivalries fall victim to the ravages of time and fade into oblivion.

Then there is Archbishop Hoban and Walsh Jesuit.

This has been a rivalry that has withstood the tests of time and only seems to hone its competitive edge sharper and sharper with every game.

Hoban vs. Walsh, edition number 72, did not disappoint on Friday. In fact, it only served to add another chapter to the storied series.

Host Walsh Jesuit, desperately needing a victory after dropping three of its last four games following an ankle injury to point guard Tommy Cummings, got key performances from every player at coach John Norris’ disposal and pulled off a 61-59 North Coast League victory in overtime in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the gymnasium known as The Dome.

A short, pull-up jumper by senior Ben Merril with 12.9 seconds remaining was the difference in a game that swung back and forth all night long and ended with Walsh Jesuit taking a 40-32 lead in the series.

Just as big, perhaps, was the rebound pulled down by 6-8 senior Phil Vincent on Hoban’s possession after Merril’s basket.

“What can I say?” Norris asked rhetorically. “It was a great game, the kind that is great about coaching high school basketball at this place.

‘‘It was a big win for us for a number of reasons. Great for the fan base, great because it was a league game and it was a district game.”

By that, Norris meant that Walsh Jesuit and Hoban are aligned in the same sectional/district at Barberton.

But possibly more important was the Warriors (9-4, 3-2) were able to beat a very good team without one of their key players, which should be a huge confidence boost.

“It was huge,” said Merril, who finished with 14 points and eight rebounds while playing the last few minutes of regulation time and the overtime with four fouls.

“We were coming off a loss to Brunswick and toughies to Benedictine and Lake Catholic. This shows you how resilient we can be, how deep we can dig. We battled the whole game.”

Sophomore guard Maison Ross led Walsh with 20 points and was backed by senior Justin Lindsay’s 12 points, eight by Donovan Morris and seven by Vincent, who pulled down six rebounds and had two blocked shots.

Hoban (10-2, 3-2) had three players score in double figures with junior guard Matt Salopek getting 15, senior Garrett Houser 14 and junior Jake Snyder 11.

Walsh Jesuit had four-point leads at several junctures. Hoban twice had a six-point lead in the second half.

Hoban took a 50-46 lead on a basket by Salopek with 2:26 left following an offensive rebound by sophomore Dominick Moegerle, playing his first game since transferring from St. Vincent-St. Mary last year.

Ross cut it to one with his third 3-pointer of the night from the corner with 1:31 to go. A basket by Lindsay gave Walsh a brief lead at 51-50 but senior Collen Gurley wiped that out with a 3-pointer from the corner, just to the right of the Hoban bench.

Vincent tied it at 53-53 with a layup with 11 seconds left and Hoban suffered a costly turnover with time running out, prompting the overtime.

Merril and Morris score back-to-back baskets around a Hoban miss before Snyder countered with a 3-pointer with 2:09 to go.

Lindsay’s short shot gave the Warriors a 59-56 lead with 1:29 to go, and they never trailed again.

Salopek made 1-of-2 free throws to get the Knights to within two (59-57) and Houser followed with a steal and layup to tie things and set the stage for Merril’s game-winner.

The teams combined to start the game with six consecutive 3-pointers. Walsh made six of its first eight shots and Hoban made seven of its first 11.

The teams cooled off slightly, with the Warriors making 24-of-42 shots to 23-of-43 for the Knights.

Walsh finished with eight 3-pointers and Hoban had nine.

Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.