Hargrave had a 10-point lead with 5:17 to go. Fishburne had Jordon Talley. Talley had a hand in 16 FMS points in the final 5:17, and the Caissons closed out the Tigers on a 21-5 scoring run to take a 101-95 win in a matchup of two national Top 5 teams Tuesday night in Waynesboro, Va.
Talley (6’0”, 180, Richmond, Va.), still unsigned, with offers on the table from Longwood and Campbell, among others, was the unquestioned best player on the court full of top Division I prospects. The only thing that slowed him down, and slowed fourth-ranked Fishburne down, was second-half foul trouble. In a 40-second stretch early in the second half, Talley picked up three quick fouls, sending him to the bench at the 14:02 mark with four.
By the time Talley returned at the 7:59 mark, fifth-ranked Hargrave (25-8) was up 82-70, and the night with the theme “Beat Hargrave,” the message emblazoned on T-shirts worn in pregame warmups by the Fishburne (18-4) players, looked to be a lost cause.
“We knew we just had to push, get the ball out in transition, play some defense. We knew the game wasn’t over, though. We’d been down 25 at New Hampton Prep and came back and won. We knew we had to do. Just play our game,” Talley said.
The two teams traded baskets for the next three and a half minutes until a pair of field goals by Shamiek Sheppard (6’6”, 220, Brooklyn) cut the FMS deficit to six at 90-84 with 5:17 to go.
Talley took over from there. Two free throws cut the lead to 90-86 at the 3:36 mark, and Talley followed those up 10 seconds later with a floater in the lane that made the margin two.
Talley then got around the Hargrave defense to find Sheppard for a layup that tied the game at 90 with 2:36 left.
After a Hargrave miss, Talley stopped at the top of the key in transition and drained a three-pointer that gave Fishburne its first lead of the second half, 93-90, with 2:01 to go.
Another pair of free throws by Talley extended the lead to 95-90 with 50.7 seconds left, and Fishburne closed out the game from there by going 6-of-6 at the charity stripe.
“Muhammad Ali always said the 13th, 14th and 15th rounds were the championship round, and when you got knocked down, you had to get back up, and that’s what made you the champion. We got knocked down, but we picked ourselves up off the canvas, and we won in the 15th round,” said Fishburne coach Ed Huckaby.
Talley led the Caissons with 32 points. Sheppard scored 29 points for Fishburne, which also got 15 points from Tre Harris (6’5, 185, Glen Carbon, Ill./Kansas State) and 13 points from Lamell Washington (6’7”, 215, Frederick, Md./Maryland-Baltimore County).
Donte Grantham scored 30 to lead the Tigers.
“This is a huge win for our program,” Washington said. “We lost to them earlier in the year, so we definitely had this one circled on our schedule. Credit to Hargrave for playing hard. We just didn’t get down on ourselves. We knew we had to keep playing hard, play defense, and execute. We knew we were still in this game.”