Many different ingredients can come together to create a devastating loss.
Central combined a bunch Wednesday against Eagles Landing in the second round of the GHSA Class AAA playoffs.
The Chargers (22-8) struggled with turnovers and spotty foul shooting against the Eagles, but losing a seemingly safe lead in overtime will probably be what sticks most with Central.
The Eagles (27-3) overcame a six-point deficit in the final 45 seconds of overtime to escape Central with a 67-65 win over the Region 2-AAA champions. They will play either Crisp County or Westside-Augusta on Saturday in Savannah with a spot in the Class AAA Final Four on the line.
Quintavias Virgil led Central with 21 points, while Kavizea Oliver added 17. Marquis Griffin led the Eagles with 22 points.
Losses arent easy, Central head coach Andre Taylor said. Playoff losses are worse. This is about as bad as a loss can feel, Id guess.
The game appeared in hand late in overtime as the Chargers built a 65-59 lead on a free throw by Riarus Dudley with 52 seconds left. But the Central defense lost Griffin in the corner, and he drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead in half. The Eagles stole the ball back immediately and kicked it again to Griffin, who made a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to tie the game.
Central didnt score again, turning over the ball on the next two possessions, and the Eagles made two free throws to set the final margin. Joshua Evins missed a 3-pointer off the glass from just inside the halfcourt line at the buzzer.
It looked bad; Central played an incredible game, Eagles Landing head coach Clay Crump said. Those back-to-back 3s were just backbreaking. The window was about to close, and we just jammed our finger in there.
When asked to dissect reason for the loss, Taylor pointed to the two crucial turnovers in overtime. The Central guards struggled to hold on to the ball throughout the game, and sloppy turnovers accounted for the Chargers double-digit deficit in the second half.
Taylor also talked about the free-throw shooting.
The Chargers missed five foul shots in the final two minutes of overtime and -- except for a pair of free throws by Evins that forced overtime -- they were dreadful from the foul line the entire game, shooting 36.4 percent (8-for-22).
Too many mistakes, Taylor said. We never gave up, and we fought. But we needed to play a little sharper.
Central, however, didnt look like overtime was even an option at points during the second half.
The Chargers fell behind by 14 early in the third quarter, and they trailed by 12 a few minutes into the fourth quarter.
Oliver started to take over at that point, crashing the boards for putbacks. The senior scored 13 points in the second half, with 10 coming off offensive rebounds. With Central down three, Oliver was fouled on a putback, and his following free throw tied the game at 56-56 with 38 seconds to play.
Hes a senior, and he put us on his back, Taylor said. He played great, kept us in it.