Providence Day played its best with its basketball season on the line.
The Chargers rallied from a nine-point deficit to beat Charlotte Christian 63-60 Saturday in the quarterfinals of the NCISAA state tournament at a packed Providence Day gym, which was ear-splittingly loud all game. The Chargers, who trailed 54-45 a minute into the fourth, roared to life behind its defense. Providence Day outscored Charlotte Christian 18-9 over the final three minutes in which the teams swapped the lead five times.
“I just wanted to do it all on the defensive end, lock in on every possession and give it my all, and we came out with a team win,” said the Chargers’ Devon Dotson, who scored a game-high 26 points.
In addition to Dotson, Providence Day got a fourth-quarter boost from Trey Wertz, who scored seven of his 13 points in the quarter, including a pair of game-winning free throws for a 61-60 lead with 18.4 seconds left. Isaac Suffren also added four of his 10 points during that span.
“We’re always locked in, so we knew to stay composed and play our game,” Dotson said. “We knew it was going to come out for us.”
Charlotte Christian held the advantage most of the way primarily on the inside scoring of center Blake Preston, who paced the Knights with 20 points. His final basket, with 95 seconds to play, gave Christian a 60-59 advantage. But free throws cost the Knights down the stretch with a pair of failed one-and-ones while Providence Day went 4-of-4, getting the winning shots from Wertz and two more from Dotson to finish the game.
Paul Hudson added 12 points for the Knights while J.C. Tharrington tossed in another 11.
But Providence Day, which split the regular season series, made the key plays down the stretch in front of a roaring crowd.
“It was loud, but we had to lock in,” Dotson said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to get past them and win this game. It was unbelievable atmosphere.”
Records: Charlotte Christian 23-9; Providence Day 25-9.
Worth mentioning: Charlotte Christian’s bench outscored Providence Day 7-3.
What’s next: Providence Day advances to the semifinals of the NCISAA tournament.