With about four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Providence Day was within striking distance of Monteverde.
A few moments later, a key whistle changed the course for the Chargers as 6-foot-7 Grant Williams picked up his fourth foul and had to sit.
When Williams sat, the comeback stalled and the Chargers’ magical season ended Thursday with a 70-54 loss in the quarterfinals of the Dick’s High School Nationals at Christ the King High School.
Before losing their tallest player, the Chargers (30-4) had withstood a size disadvantage and come back from a pair of runs. They were within 41-35 on two free throws by Devon Dotson with 4:28 remaining but when Williams was called for his fourth going for a rebound, momentum seemed to end.
“We felt like we had not played our best,” Chargers coach Brian Field said. “We didn’t shoot very well. As a team this season we shot over 60 percent and halftime we were about 35. We felt like if we could knock down some shots, we could make a run at it.”
The run ended. By the end of the third, Providence Day faced a 51-41 deficit and early in the fourth, the Tigers (26-1) officially put it away, denying the Chargers a further opportunity to continue a season which featured their first state title since 1999.
“It’s hard,” Field said. “We go from winning a state championship and the season ends on a win and you come up here and all of sudden your season officially ends on a loss I guess but we’re going to remember that state championship win for sure.”
Three Who Mattered
Devon Dotson: The Chargers leading scorer never got into any rhythm. He missed his first eight shots and finished 4 of 17, including 0 of 4 from 3-point range.
Trey Wertz: Wertz did not shoot as often as Dotson but still struggled. The 48 percent shooter was 4 of 11 but misfired on all five 3-point attempts while the Chargers were 4 of 21 from behind the arc.
RJ Barrett: Montverde’s freshman guard was the best player on the floor as he finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. The son of former St. John’s standout Rowan Barrett, he shot shot 7 of 12 as the Chargers struggled to contain him through the lane.
▪ Size did matter. Monteverde had five players 6-foot-6 or taller and while it was not necessarily reflective in the rebounding numbers (38-31 Providence Day), it appeared in other areas, The Eagles gave up 56 points inside and 19 on fast breaks, including a few thunderous dunks.
▪ Rust was apparent early. Both teams had lengthy layoffs and it showed in a choppy first quarter when Providence Day took a 15-12 lead despite making three baskets.
They Said It
“I’m proud of how we competed and that’s sort of been the signature of our team. If you look at us we don’t have 11 Division One players but one of the things we do is we’re fearless and we play hard. I thought our guys did that tonight and we stayed in the game but ultimately they were able to pull away. Their size and depth was a little bit too much for us.” – Field on the game.