With less than a minute left on the clock and the game tied up, all West Charlotte senior forward Austin Harris could think about was making sure his teammates were on the same page.
“Just make sure we all know what we’re doing for the next play and the play after that,” said Harris.
Harris and his teammates came together in the clutch, and the West Charlotte Lions of Charlotte, N.C. beat the Dunbar Poets of Baltimore City, 60-58, in an overtime thriller at the 2014 MLK Hoopfest Showcase in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18.
Dunbar took the lead early in the game, but West Charlotte scored 23 points in the second quarter to tie the game at 32 at halftime. However, the real action didn’t start until the final minute of regulation. Junior guard Michael Boone hit a clutch corner jump shot with 12 seconds left to give the Lions the lead, 54-52. That is when Dunbar sophomore guard Tremaine Tazewell drove to the basket for a quick layup to send the game into overtime.
The Poets were 0 for 6 from the field, and only scored four points in overtime.
“We were trying to attack the basket. With us being aggressive, they were fouling us early before we got a chance to make the shot,” said Dunbar head coach Cyrus Jones, Sr. “Once we got to the free throw line, unfortunately, we didn’t capitalize and make the shot. We missed free throws and it cost us.”
With only a few seconds left on the clock, Charlotte’s junior guard Isiah Blackmon made the game-winning layup. Dunbar’s senior point guard Keandre Gibson—who finished with 16 points, five assists and six turnovers—missed a three-pointer as the clock hit zero.
Both teams struggled with ball handling throughout the game. West Charlotte turned the ball over 19 times, while Dunbar had 14 turnovers.
“I put that all on me because I’m the point guard of the team,” said Gibson. “That was a big factor in the game, because if you think about it, we only lost by two points. If we don’t have that many turnovers, we win the game.”
“We had a lot of late turnovers. We had to just push through that, get it out of our heads and go on to the next play,” said Malik Massey, West Charlotte junior point guard.
Massey led the Lions with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. The Poets’ standout was senior guard Keshawn Hampton who shot 7-of-13 from the field for 17 points.
Dunbar will next face Riverdale Baptist of Upper Marlboro, Md. in a non-divisional game on Jan. 25.