Before Tuesday’s game, Watson Chapel head coach Matt Busch sat down with his players and asked them “How do you want to be remembered?”
“There are five weeks left of this basketball season,” Busch said. “We are 2-2. Do you want to turn the corner and win a couple in a row, or do you want to fall back in the same pattern – win two, lose two.”
Busch said his seniors came to him before the game and said, “Coach, we had a meeting. We are going to get this one.”
Watson Chapel answered the call with a 60-56 overtime win over rival White Hall at home.
The Wildcats (8-8, 3-2 in 5A-South) scored the first six points of overtime to take a 52-46 lead and made six of nine from the free throw line down the stretch to secure the conference victory.
“Hats off to them,” White Hall head coach Marc Stringer said. “They hit some shots when it mattered and we didn’t.”
White Hall (3-13, 0-6) didn’t get on the board in overtime until Quinton Winston made a hook shot with 1:11 left to cut the deficit to 52-48.
“I thought we played a lot better than we have the last couple games,” Stringer said. “My kids always come out and compete. That’s never a problem.
“But I thought we looked basketball ready tonight.”
Chapel led off the overtime period with a bucket by Demetrius Dukes and an outside jumper from Jalen Courtney to lead 50-46 with 3:11 left.
“Coach Stringer is doing a very good job,” Busch said. “I’ve been worried about them since day one and I told him that. He’s doing a heck of a job.
“His kids played really hard and hit some big shots. For them to come here and do that, I can tell he is turning that program around.”
Watson Chapel’s Tevin Brown made three of four from the line in overtime and Courtney made three of four as well.
“We made enough free throws to keep them away,” Busch said. “That is a feisty group. I know they haven’t won one yet, but they are going to.”
With the game tied at 46 and 1:23 left in the fourth quarter, Busch called a timeout with 1:23 left.
Chapel then burned almost the entire clock until there was only 12 seconds left in the game and then Busch took another timeout to set up the play.
“They had been playing zone all game,” Busch said. “And I told the guys, they ain’t getting out of it.
“We are either going to overtime or we are going to win.”
On the ensuing play, Chapel screened down low for Tevin Brown and had Courtney fade off. White Hall pressured Brown so he kicked it out to Courtney but the shot rimmed and fell into the hands of Chapel’s Ben Marcus.
“It fell right in Ben’s lap,” Busch said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything else. That is exactly what I wanted to do.”
Marcus attempted a shot but it was no good as well and the game went into overtime.
“In a game like that, you don’t want to leave any doubt,” Busch said. “I rather play four minutes than a minute and a half.
“I told them ‘if you shoot the ball with more than five seconds left there is going to be repercussions.’”
Courtney led Chapel with 17 points and Charles Owens scored 15 points. Marcus contributed with 11 while SanAntonio Cole chipped in with six and Brown scored nine.
For White Hall, Perry Arnold and Lamarcus Davis scored 12 points.
“Some things are starting to click,” Busch said. “That’s three games in a row that Charles has scored 15 or more points.
“Ben got into some early foul trouble, but he was kind of the difference in the second half as he got a lot of rebounds.”
Owens sparked the Wildcats in the second quarter when he came up with a monster jam to give Watson Chapel a 14-12 lead.
“Anytime you get a dunk like that to start the game, you are going to have a pretty good game,” Busch said. “That was a big-time dunk.”
Busch said he probably saw 50 dunks with last year’s team, but he never saw one like that.
“He ignited us tonight,” Busch said. “He believes he is the best player on the court and for the last three nights he has been.”