A dejected Shaquille Crimley (4) walks off the court after the Pelham boys lost in overtime in the Class AA quarterfinals Thursday night. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)
PELHAM — Duntrez Moore pulled his jersey over his head to hide the frustration.
Shaquille Crimley walked slowly to the dressing room.
For Pelham High School, this one stung. And it will sting for quite some time.
After Laney High School’s girls stunned Pelham’s Lady Hornets earlier on Thursday, Laney’s boys shocked the Pelham boys in overtime, 78-74, Thursday night in the Class AA state quarterfinals at Pelham High School.
The Hornets had their 20-game winning streak snapped. And a season that started so promising ended in what had to seem like a bad dream Thursday night.
Pelham blew an eight-point lead, tied the game and forced overtime.
But the Wildcats’ perimeter shooting was too much as the Hornets fell behind and could never catch back up.
“We made too many costly turnovers,” Pelham boys coach Laron Smith said. “You can’t do that against a good team. And we did.”
Trailing by two in overtime and Laney inbounding the ball, Joshua Russell tried to create a steal near midcourt. But with six seconds left, the ball slipped out of a sliding Russell’s hands and out of bounds.
As the ball rolled out near the scorer’s table at halfcourt, so did Pelham’s basketball season.
Laney sank a pair of free throws with five seconds left, then celebrated a big win as time expired.
“They have a good team,” Smith said. “But we do too. It just wasn’t our night.”
The Hornets led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter only to watch Laney chip away, then grabbed the lead on a 3-pointer with 1:56 left.
The Wildcats led by two in the final seconds of regulation, but Moore calmly sank a pair of free throws to tie it with five seconds left.
Laney’s last-second heave bounced off the rim, sending the game into overtime.
Pelham quickly took control in overtime, getting a basket from Jaquan Green, then another when Laney was flagged for goal-tending.
But the Wildcats took the lead for good at the 1:46 mark of overtime on yet another 3-point basket.
The loss spoiled a 19-point effort from Darrius Spence. Moore added 13 and Quinderrian Haywood 11 for the Hornets, who lost for the first time since Dec. 28, 2013.
“This one is tough,” Smith said. “But I’m proud of them.”