The Flint Hill Huskies hoped to carry their momentum from Tuesday's nail-biting victory over Woodberry Forest into their game against St. James on Thursday to tally a win on Senior Night.
Despite a valiant effort through double overtime, the Huskies fell one point short of the win with a 95-94 loss.
Though the Saints started the game with a five-point run and stretched their lead to six points within two minutes of the game, the Huskies chipped away at the deficit with points from four different players — seniors Daniel Giguere, Trevor Ogundepo, Brian McDonald and Andy Rehberger — to take the lead with 2:30 left in the first period. The period ended with the Huskies up 16-14.
The majority of the rest of the game saw both teams work within about three points of each other, tugging the lead back and forth. The Saints would not again match their game-high six-point lead until the second overtime.
Both offenses kicked into high gear for the second period, with the Saints putting up 30 points, 18 of which came through 3-pointers. The Saints sank 12 3-pointers throughout the game.
"We knew they had some kids who could shoot from the perimeter, but we didn't predict that at all," said Rico Reed, the Huskies head coach. "They shot the lights off."
But the Huskies kept pace despite the Saints' 3-point shooting to stay ahead by a point heading into halftime with a score of 45-44.
The shooting pace for both teams slowed in the third, and the game stayed tight to close the period with the Saints up 58-56.
The Saints maintained the lead throughout the first half of the fourth period, but took the lead with two made foul shots from Berchie with just under four minutes left in regulation. With about 90 seconds left on the clock, the Saints reclaimed the lead and then stretched their advantage to four points with just under a minute left. But sharp foul shooting from Berchie and McDonald tied the game by the end of regulation time, putting four extra minutes on the clock for overtime.
"At that point in time I thought we had the momentum. We scored well in transition with some good fastbreak baskets, which is our strength. Everytime we had to take time to set up, their length kept us from scoring," Reed said. "But the end of the fourth, we had good momentum going into overtime."
The Saints surged ahead to start overtime to take a five-point lead, but the Huskies answered with a run of their own to tie the game at 79 points each with a little more than two minutes left. With 15.4 seconds on the clock, Giguere scored two free throws to give the Huskies a three-point advantage. But the Saints' perimeter shooting stayed strong in the last seconds of overtime, and the Saints tied the game at 83 points just before the buzzer sounded.
At the start of the second overtime, the Saints again grabbed the lead to put the Huskies at a six-point disadvantage with a little more than two minutes left, but a 3-pointer from Chrystian Brown with 1:24 on the clock put the Huskies back into contention. With 3.6 seconds left, Giguere scored two points and sank his free throw after being fouled on the shot to put the Huskies behind 95-94. Unable to regain possession of the ball in time to score, the Huskies lost by one point.
Berchie led his team with 24 points, as four of his teammates — McDonald (16), Chrystian Brown (15), Giguere (14) and Ogundepo (11) — also scored in the double-digits. All seven seniors posted points for the Huskies on Senior Night.
The Huskies have had a seemingly endless stream of close games lately, which Reed hopes will help the squad in next week's Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.
"I'll tell you one thing for sure, we're battle-tested," Reed said. "We have to turn that negative into a postiive leading into these tight games we're going to face in this tournament. We've been in tough situations and now we just have to make the right decisions."
Before the game, Flint Hill celebrated the team's seven seniors, who helped the school earn two consecutive MAC titles in 2010 and 2011.
Daniel Giguere, captain, said though the team has had some heartbreaking results over the last few weeks, the team has stuck together to continue fighting.
"We really have a family atmosphere. We've always been able to stay together during adversity. I love these guys to death," said Giguere, who had only dabbled in basketball before joining the Flint Hill squad his freshman year. We had lost three tough matchups pretty much in a row, but we beat Middleburg this week. We're really capable when everyone's on full-cylinder."
Reed said he is proud of the seniors' accomplishments over the last four years, both on and off the court.
"This is a great group of kids. I don't want to lose sight of the fact they've won championships as sophomores and juniors. I really love these kids, and we've had to face adversity together," Reed said. "My job as a coach is to develop these kids from boys to men, and regardless of how I'm judged for my win-loss record, I know I've done that."
Points: Mo Berchie (24), Brian McDonald (16), Chrystian Brown (15), Daniel Giguere (14), Trevor Ogundepo (11), Andy Rehberger (8), Ramon Burris (2), Cole Herdman (2) and Troy Thomas (2)