RICHMOND - The E.C. Glass boys basketball team took a 48-47 lead in overtime with 2:10 to play and held that same lead with 54 seconds to play, but couldn't score the rest of the way and lost to Grafton in the Division 4 state semifinals 51-48 Wednesday afternoon.
Glass Coach Roy Roberson said, "This burns because I think we were good enough."
In the closing moments, under pressure from Grafton's defense Jermaine Mayo turned the ball over twice. The first one turned directly into a layup for Grafton that gave them a one point lead with 50 seconds to play. Mayo, who had three points, six assists, and five turnovers, said, "I just passed the ball too quick. I didn't chin the ball like I was supposed to and I didn't keep my head up. I just looked for the first open guy. I didn't see Jesse Santiago coming and he came and got a good steal and made a layup to put them ahead."
Then on the offensive end, down by one, Glass had an opportunity to take the lead but Mayo tried to split through two defenders and lost the ball. A subsequent foul led to a pair of free throws for Grafton to put them up by three. The Clippers were 16 of 21 from the line.
Needing a three-pointer at the end of OT, Tyus Brown got off an awkward and unbalanced shot. It hit off the rim and the backboard before falling to the ground to end the game.
At the end of regulation, Montrez Bateman had a shot for the win but it came up short, leading to the extra four minute period.
Grafton advances to play Salem in the state championship game scheduled to begin Saturday at 9 p.m.
Karl Overstreet led the Hilltoppers with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Akeem Jones scored 11 points and Bateman added 10.
Glass, who finished with a 20-9 record, missed 12 free throws (5-17) and in the closing seconds of the first half, Raekwon Crater got a steal and then went down for an uncontested dunk but missed the dunk and as a result the Hilltoppers trailed 32-24 at intermission.
Overstreet said, "I still thought we could come back at any point. I knew we'd make a run at some point. As far as senior year, last game goes, it was the most exciting game I could ask my team to put forth."
Grafton's star player Elijah Moore was 3 of 19 from the floor, 2 of 11 from three-point land, and scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds. Glass coach Roy Roberson said based on that stat line, he thought Glass would win by eight points but "the game was lost [in part]at the free throw line."
Moore said he's received interest from schools like VMI, Norfolk State, William & Mary, Central Connecticut and the Citadel but will wait until after the state championship game to decide on his future.
With the snowfall in central Virginia, E.C. Glass was unable to transport four bus loads of students to the game. Prior to the game, Roberson said, "[The game] is going to feel like a scrimmage" based on the atmosphere in the arena. Grafton, from York County (north of Virginia Beach and Portsmouth), was able to send students to the game and they filled up the lower portion of the baseline seats.
Despite the fact Hilltopper fans were outnumbered, a select group still verbally supported their team. A number of coaches from other sports were in attendance along with athletic director Chip Berry.
Stay tuned to ABC 13 News Wednesday at 11 p.m. Justin Feldkamp will have more on this game.
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