COLLEGE PARK – The DuVal High School boys’ basketball team saw its season come to a stunning halt at the buzzer on Thursday evening when the Tigers fell to Bethesda-Chevy Chase 58-57 in overtime the 4A state semifinals. DuVal (17-9) owned a slight advantage at the end of the first two quarters and extended the […]
COLLEGE PARK – The DuVal High School boys’ basketball team saw its season come to a stunning halt at the buzzer on Thursday evening when the Tigers fell to Bethesda-Chevy Chase 58-57 in overtime the 4A state semifinals.
DuVal (17-9) owned a slight advantage at the end of the first two quarters and extended the lead to as many as nine points at the outset of the second half, but the Barons (20-5) gradually chipped away at the lead thanks to the perimeter shooting of Kevin Holston (21 points) and Justin Carter (9 points), who combined to hit seven 3-pointers.
The Barons also climbed back into the contest courtesy of the Tigers’ difficulties at the free-throw line. DuVal players made only 12 out of 25 foul shots and senior Edward Polite hit only 5 of 12 shots including missing a pair that would have given his team the lead with just 2.8 seconds remaining in regulation.
“The first thing I looked at was the rebounding,” said DuVal first-year coach Ulysses Lee. “I thought they did a better job on the boards. They got a lot of second-chance baskets. But we also were terrible at the free-throw line. Missing 13 free throws, that’s inexcusable. If we had made our free throws tonight, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase, which will face Meade in Saturday evening’s 4A State title game, overcame the halftime deficit by outscoring the Tigers 16-8 in the third quarter to take their first lead since early in the opening frame. But DuVal responded with an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
When Carter connected on his third 3-pointer of the night to cut the DuVal lead to 45-44, the two teams would not be separated by more than two points throughout the end of regulation and the overtime. B-CC hit two free throws with 32.5 seconds left to tie the game for the third time in the final three minutes, but Polite then missed two foul shots that would have won it for the Tigers in regulation.
“I feel like I lost the game,” said Polite, who is headed to Radford University this fall. “I let my team down. I could have won the game for us, but instead I feel like I lost it.”
But Polite was hardly the only DuVal player to struggle from the charity stripe on Thursday. After Holtson opened the overtime with a short jumper that gave the Barons a 52-20 lead, DuVal’s Derrick Branch made only one of four free throws. But a layup by Polite gave the Tigers a 53-52 lead with just over three minutes remaining.
After Livio Caputo missed two free throws for B-CC, Holston nailed a jumper that put the Barons ahead 54-53. But Polite countered with another layup for a 55-54 Tigers’ lead with 35 seconds left. Cameron Galic gave the Barons a 56-55 edge with 22 seconds left, but Polite countered again by hitting a pair of free throws to hoist the Tigers to a 57-56 lead with 12.3 seconds remaining. B-CC called its final timeout with 7.3 second remaining and needing to execute the play that would send them to the state title game. They would get there, but not in a designed fashion.
Holston came off a high screen and took a short jumper that caromed off the front of the rim, but Yannick Alexis grabbed the offensive rebound and nailed a bank-shot buzzer beater to give his team the win.
“We had a long winning streak early in the season then we went into a slide later in the season,” Lee said. “But we bounced back from it okay and then won the playoff games to get here. It was a tough, tough loss. We definitely had our chances tonight. We needed to do a better job on the boards and we also needed to make our free throws. That was the difference.”