Tyrece Edwards and Emmanuel Christian boys basketball team staged a great fourth-quarter comeback Friday night.
Edwards, who finished with 38 points, and the Warriors erased a 12-point deficit in the final six minutes and held a one-point lead over Summerfield with 13.4 seconds to play.
But the Warriors' hearts were broken when Dakota Ladd grabbed a loose ball and sank a desperation 3-pointer at the final buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 72-70 win in the consolation final of the Warrior Christmas Classic.
"Our guys play hard, but we put ourselves in a bad spot by being behind by 11 entering the fourth quarter," Warriors coach Dave Regnier said. "Our kids have showed good character in the past, so I was confident we would make another run.
"But I don't think we lost the game in the last second. We lost the game much earlier."
Summerfield started the game with a hot shooting hand, making 4 of 6 3-point shots in the first quarter to take an early 18-11 lead.
"We gave up a lot of good looks early," Regnier said. "It took us a little while to recognize who their shooters were -- probably longer than I would have liked."
In the second quarter Emmanuel Christian managed to tie the game at 24 with 4:23 left, only to see the Bulldogs score the next seven points and eventually build a 37-32 halftime lead.
Things got worse for the Warriors in the third period as Summerfield led by as many as 13 points, but Emmanuel Christian found a spark at both ends of the floor starting at the 5:43 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Warriors forced 12 Bulldog turnovers in the fourth period alone, and Edwards, a senior, scored 20 points in that quarter. The last two on free throws with 13.4 seconds left and gave EC a 70-69 lead.
"I just took the open looks," Edwards said. "I know the team was looking for me to take the ball to the basket and make some shots, so I just took what was open."
On the game's final play, Emmanuel Christian forced Summerfield to take a difficult shot from the right baseline that bounced off the rim hard to Ladd on the left wing. Ladd threw the ball at the basket more than shot it, but the ball found nothing but net as the final horn sounded.
"I thought we defended [the final play] really well," Regnier said. "They took a fade-away [shot], and we had a hand in the guy's face when he shot it. We got a hand on the rebound, and we boxed out well, but it was a long rebound. They just hit a shot."
Steve Schankin scored 21 points to lead Summerfield (4-3), while Jarret Garner had 17 and A.J. Van Kainen had 13.
Ryan Creech scored 16 and Jason Regnier 11 for Emmanuel Christian (4-2).
"A loss like this hurts, but that's basketball," Edwards said. "We just have to not put ourselves in that position.
"That shot wasn't the winning basket. It was all the shots [that fell before] that were the key."
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.
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