In a game filled with clutch shot after clutch shot on both sides, Tattnall Square put itself in position to upset Stratford on Tuesday night in front of a near-capacity crowd at Richard Reid Court.
The Trojans, however, picked perhaps to worst time to go cold from the field, as the Eagles held them to one point during the games final 2:20 as Stratford won 61-53.
Its always a 15-rounder when these two teams get together, Stratford head coach Jamie Dickey said. I told our guys, You better expect a battle. You better expect to have to play 32 minutes. We did not think we were going to come in here and get an easy win.
Tattnall (15-7) missed its final five shots from the field, two of them being 3-pointers.
Stratford (20-2) put the game in the hands of its guards to finish the night, using them to help spread Tattnall out defensively. The Eagles backcourt also came up big from the free-throw line, sinking three free throws to lead 59-53 and put the game away.
Once we had the lead and it start getting under two minutes, we tried to really spread it out. We kind of went smaller with a lot of guards and ballhandlers, Dickey said. We tried to make them come out and either foul us or get away from the rim where we could make some easy layups. We didnt want to force any shots at the end.
The Eagles combo of Quintez Cephus and OShowen Williams had a big night, each player reaching double figures.
Tattnall, however, was not intimidated. The Trojans kept the Eagles from running away with the game thanks in large part of a strong night on the perimeter. Tattnall made five 3-pointers. Tevyn Rogers, who finished with 12 points, connected on three shots from behind the 3-point arc.
Tattnalls long-range game got the Trojans the lead early in the third quarter on back-to-back 3-pointers by Ahmad Barron and Rogers. A pair of baskets by Austin Long and Will Trevitt put the Trojans ahead 40-35, Tattnalls largest lead of the game with 4:05 left in the third quarter.
Thats when Stratford came to life, ripping off an 11-2 run to end the quarter, capping it with a Williams 3-pointer and James Mitchell jumper as time expired to end the quarter. Stratford led 46-42 going to the fourth quarter and extended its lead to 49-42 on a Cephus 3-pointer.
Tattnall tried time and again to draw even, keeping the Stratford lead at one possession, but the Trojans were unable to tie the score.
Stratford pulled out a thrilling victory in a girls game that went back and forth as Lucy Bobbitt stole an inbounds pass near the Tattnall basket with less than two seconds to play as the Eagles won 35-33.
A layup by Taylor Reese with nine seconds to play moved Stratford into the lead. The Trojans tied the score at 33 with 1:10 to play after back-to-back layups by Kendra Green, who led Tattnall with 15 points.
Stratford, which improves to 20-2 overall and 3-0 in GISA Region 2-AAA play, outscored Tattnall 11-2 in the third quarter, taking a 28-25 lead. Tattnall (15-1, 1-1) led 23-17 at halftime.