BROOKLYN, NY - After coming off a tough loss to Abraham Lincoln on Thursday and facing Wing Academy on Sunday, Saturday's game against Thomas Jefferson became a must win situation for South Shore's momentum.
But when the Vikings go-to-guys fouled out, a trio of role players stepped up big to pull off the 91-89 overtime win at the buzzer.
"The starters got fouled out and whispered in my ear 'This is your time to shine," said sophomore Donnel Clayton (9 points). With UConn-bound PG Terrence Samuel and Towson-bound Shamiek Sheppard forced to watch from the bench during overtime, the junior would knock down the game winning jumper.
From the onset, the Jefferson Orange Wave put it on South Shore defensively as both teams maintained a frenetic pace. The Vikings would pay special attention to Samuel who was looking to improve on his dismal 1 point of offensive production versus Lincoln. The double teams and traps were effective, resulting in early baskets by Jermoine "Flirt" Faison (14 points) and Nazi Stokes (13 points).
The Orange Wave would lead by as many as 8 points late in the first quarter but South Shore would build momentum when Sheppard banged down one of his many dunks. Pulling to within three, the Vikings would trail 20-16 to begin the second quarter.
Jefferson cashed in on their home court advantage as they led throughout most of the second quarter powered by long ball specialist Mike "Pop" Watson (22 points) who scored 16 first half points. The Vikings through it all remained in striking range. Eventually, monster rebounds and dunks by Sheppard and senior big man Antoine Didier (11 points) would give the Vikings their first albeit brief lead.
It was a free for all as both teams headed toward the half hoping to take momentum into the locker room. Jefferson had a 3-point lead but Clayton would tie the game at 33. Jaquan Lynch (26 points)would step up big with 32 seconds left on the clock and nail a bank-shot from the arc and again as time ran out, giving Jefferson a 37-33 lead going into the second half.
Capitalizing on their halftime momentum, Jefferson started the third quarter with a 10-2 run. Down by 10 points with 5:23 left in the quarter, Didier and Sheppard once again began doing South Shore's dirty work on the boards and in the paint, closing the gap to three points, entering the fourth quarter.
A coast-to-coast basket by Sheppard would pull the Vikings to within a point but a vicious step-back trey attempt by Lynch put the FIU bound senior on the foul line where he went 3 for 3. Undeterred, the Vikings continued to fight until junior Doudmy St. Hilaire (18 points) once again tied the game at 73. Samuel would score a layup with 3:02 to finally give South Shore the lead. Shortly thereafter, the senior point guard would pick-up his fifth foul and become a spectator.
Late in the quarter, Devyn Wilson (6 points) would commit not one but two charging fouls. The two turnovers would set-up Lynch and Patrick Brown (4 points) to score back-to-back and regain the lead for Jefferson. In a three-point hole with 13.2 seconds left in regulation, the junior guard would redeem his past offensive indiscretions, swishing a 3-ball to take the game into overtime, tied at 79.
"I kept thinking, stay aggressive," said Wilson who shot the clutch basket with no conscious. Most coaches would have yanked a player after only one offensive foul but Wilson said, "Coach Mike [Beckles] has confidence in me."
With 1:38 in OT, Sheppard (18 points) would follow Samuel and also foul out. Now without their two go-to-guys and on foreign soil, on paper, it appeared to be the beginning of the end for South Shore. Basketball, however, is not played on paper. It's played on the court with sweat and guts.
The lead changed hands four times as the two Brooklyn PSAL AA teams battled it out in what could easily be classified as one of the best games of the season. 37.8 second remained in the first overtime and the game was knotted at 89. Jefferson had possession but when Stokes stepped out of bound, South Shore had the rock with 21.7 ticks. The Viking would also cough it up and a scrum ensued. Clayton managed to get the ball and gather himself to take and hit a buzzer beating jumpshot for the win that sent South Shore rushing the court.
"I'm so proud of my guys," said Samuel (11 points). "We have a big game [on Sunday] against Wings [Academy] so this gives us momentum.
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