Fishburne led by 14 with 5:56 to go, but needed an Adrian Rich basket with 9.1 seconds left to finish off the upset of fifth-ranked Hargrave, 90-89, in a postgraduate basketball thriller Tuesday night at Alumni Memorial Gym in Waynesboro, Va.
Fishburne (16-8) led 84-70 inside six minutes, but Hargrave (24-4) stormed back with a 19-4 run that saw the Tigers take an 89-88 lead on a three-pointer from the left corner by Scott Meredith.
Caissons coach Ed Huckaby called a timeout to set up a play, and called a 1-4 set out of the huddle for Rich.
Assistant coach Steve Jecewicz said the team had run the play in practice earlier in the day, and not with the greatest of results.
“We were 0-for-4 on that play in practice today. It had us questioning if that was the play to run, but fifth time was the charm. Adrian stepped up and made the play,” Jecewicz said.
Rich said the team was confident in the huddle after the play call.
“We knew we had 18 seconds to get a basket. Coach just had faith in me to get the ball in my hands, and I was able to make the play. I want to thank my coach and my teammates for having faith in me to make the play,” Rich said.
Hargrave attacked upcourt after the made basket, foregoing a timeout to try to catch Fishburne in transition, but Rich hustled back and came up with a steal.
Ahmad Frost ended up going to the line for a one-and-one with 2.9 seconds left, but missed the front end. Hargrave rebounded, and Trey Grundy hit a halfcourt shot, but the game officials ruled immediately that the shot did not leave his hands until after the final buzzer.
Video footage shot by Augusta Free Press, and a screenshot of the footage with the clock on the scoreboard at 0.0 seconds, confirmed the call.
“It shouldn’t come down to that. We’ve got to close out the game at the line. But that’s something that we’ll learn,” head coach Ed Huckaby said after the game.
Hargrave led 47-46 at the half. Fishburne stormed out of the locker room on a 15-4 run that pushed the lead to 10, and led by double-digits until the Hargrave rally in the final minutes.
The result was a big turnaround from the teams’ first meeting, a 104-71 Hargrave win in Chatham on Dec. 16.
“It was a real big win. We lost to them last game, and we wanted some getback. It’s big for the school, everybody’s happy. It’s just big to get the win,” Rich said.
“I’m so happy for the guys to actually get this tonight,” Jecewicz said. “We’ve had a couple of disappointing finishes, a couple of losses in the final minute of games. To finally come out on the winning end, this is something that can give us some momentum going forward.”
– Story by Chris Graham