DeAndre Smelter nearly single-handedly carried Tattnall to victory Friday at Mount de Sales.
But even Smelter’s extraordinary effort wasn’t enough bring the Trojans back from a double-digit deficit, as the Cavaliers turned back the Trojans 62-57.
“It’s the biggest win of the year,” said Mount de Sales’ Josh Abrams, who led the Cavaliers with 21 points.
The loss, Tattnall’s first in GISA Region 2-AAA, tightens region play with both the Trojans and Cavaliers now having 3-1 region records.
Mount de Sales led by 10 points going into the fourth quarter after Tattnall was plagued by turnovers for much of the game. That’s when Smelter took over. Tattnall put together an 8-3 run to draw closer to the Cavaliers, with all the points coming from Smelter. In fact, Smelter, who finished with 30 points, scored all but three of the Trojans’ 21 fourth-quarter points.
“He’s an incredible basketball player, incredible athlete. He put them on his shoulders and did what we expected them to do,” Mount de Sales head coach Scott Wynn said.
But it still wasn’t enough for the Trojans.
“We know we have to get it to him. We just have to get it down the floor and get it to him,” Tattnall head coach Paul Brooks said.
Three of Smelter’s points came on a layup followed by a free throw with 2:33 left in the game, cutting the Mount de Sales lead to 51-49. That’s when the tide was stemmed by Abrams.
Abrams got his hands on a pass at halfcourt on Tattnall’s next offensive possession, streaking downcourt for an easy steal and layup. The play gave Mount de Sales some quick momentum that turned into a 55-49 lead with 1:10 to go.
“We had to do something to stop them,” Abrams said. “I had to get a big play to get the momentum back.”
Wynn, however, took note that the Cavaliers being able to slow down the Trojans throughout the game was also a key reason for his team’s win.
“It was a complete team effort defensively. It took all five guys all the time to keep them from making a big run,” Wynn said.
Tattnall did its best to give itself a shot to win the game, trailing by as few as three points in the final minute, but the Cavaliers made just enough foul shots in the game’s waning moments to secure the win. Tattnall missed four of its final five free throws while the Cavaliers made 7-of-12 in the final minute.
“We had too many turnovers,” Brooks said. “It’s like I told (his players), ‘You’ve got to cherish every possession.’ ”
In the girls game, Tattnall held off a late Mount de Sales rally to win 59-48. Tattnall was led by Peaches Campbell’s 22 points with Mount de Sales being paced by the 15 points of Liza Hardison.