Delaware high school basketball fans were treated to possibly the best game of the state tournament on Sunday afternoon in St. Georges Tech's 69-66 overtime win over Sanford in the quarterfinals at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delaware high school basketball fans were treated to possibly the best game of the state tournament on Sunday afternoon in St. Georges Tech’s 69-66 overtime win over Sanford in the quarterfinals at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The game can best be described as a track meet, with both teams flying up and down the court the entire afternoon. The contest featured multiple runs by both teams as well as countless lead changes all the way down to the final buzzer.
St. Georges Tech started the game on fire, breaking out to an early 8-0 lead over the favored Warriors.
While Sanford would eventually respond, the Hawks led 18-13 after one quarter of play thanks to 12 points in the opening stanza from the electric guard Lamar Hamrick.
The Warriors made a run of their own to start the second quarter, going on a 12-0 spurt midway through the quarter building one of the game’s largest leads at six with just over four minutes to play in the half.
St. Georges Tech was able to weather the Sanford storm, thanks to continued strong play form Hamrick and Todd Hughes, who were able to settle the Hawks offense down. St. Georges trailed the Warriors by just a basket, 28-26 at the break.
The fast paced action continued in the second half as both teams aggressively attacked the basket trading runs similar to the first half.
After yet another late quarter run from the Hawks, St. Georges Tech entered the final quarter trailing Sanford by just three points at 45-42.
As the two continued to pace one another down the stretch of the fourth quarter, the outcome would come hang in the balance until the final seconds.
Leading by one point with just 13 seconds left, Sanford was at the free throw line with a chance to go-ahead by three. However, Sanford made just one of two free throws, allowing the Hawks 13 seconds to attempt to send the game into overtime.
Hamrick, as he had down all game, drove to the basket with authority laying up a shot that rolled around the rim before dropping to tie things up at 58-58 with 6.8 seconds to go. The Warriors had a shot at winning the game at the buzzer but failed, sending the game to overtime.
In the overtime, Sanford’s Eric Ayala had the hot hand, scoring the first four points for the Warriors and giving them a 62-61 with just over a minute to go. With possession of the ball, Sanford tried to run the clock out passing around the perimeter before getting the ball down-low and forcing several low-percentage shots all that missed.
With 20 seconds left, St. Georges Tech took advantage of Sanford’s slipup as Hamrick drained a jump shot to give the Hawks a one-point lead. The Warriors immediately inbounded the ball but again were forced into a bad shot that would not go. The Hawks snatched the rebound and headed the other way scoring two-points on a transition basket.
“(Lamar) was absolutely awesome, he’s been playing great all year long and he stepped up again,” said Hawks’ head coach Rod Griffin. “He’s only a sophomore, he doesn’t care who scores the points he has that internal fire and simply won’t allow us to lose. I told him the game was in his hands and he said coach we’re going to make it.”
The clock hit zero and the crowd erupted but Sanford had called a time-out with two seconds left. After the timeout the Warriors had one last chance at a half-court prayer to send the game to a second overtime but the shot came up short.
Leading the way in the Hawks’ upset victory was Hamrick, just a sophomore, who netted a game-high 38 points in the quarterfinal victory.
A year ago, the Hawks were 4-16. Now, they’re just one game away from playing for the state championship. The Hawks will face No. 14 Cape Henlopen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Bob Carpenter Center.
“We put in a lot of hard work over the summer and the fall,” said Griffin. “We got back to fundamentals; we broke down everything and said we had to get back to the fundamentals.
“We’re going to enjoy this win over one of the powerhouses in our state,” he continued. “We made a statement for our young school and our young program but we still have games to win.”