CHARLESTON — After two buzzer-beaters to advance in postseason play, the Cedarville Pirates finally ran out of magic.
Cedarville pushed unbeaten McGehee to the limit in Monday’s quarterfinal matchup, but McGehee forced three Pirate turnovers in the final 40 seconds and survived for a 42-39 win.
Cedarville (22-10) tied the game at 39-39 by Beau Miller with 3 minutes left, but couldn’t come up with the plays at the end.
Trailing by one point with 9 seconds left, Garret Parson drove inside to the paint but did not get a call that might have been critical to the game.
“They got their hands on ball, but they hand their hands on arm, too,” Cedarville coach Andrew Tencleve said. “We got a few breaks that didn’t go our way and we couldn’t overcome it.”
Cedarville got the ball back after a jump ball but had it slapped away by the Owls’ trademark tenacious defense.
“We can turn it up a little bit on defense when we need to,” McGehee coach Jerome Pace said. “We didn’t play like that the whole game because they were calling it kind of tight, but we turned it on in the final minute or so. That’s what we do.”
McGehee (22-0) advanced to play Episcopal Collegiate (27-3) in the semifinals today at 2:30 p.m.
Kieanis Henry had 18 points and Evander Bailey had 10 for McGehee.
Alex Cantrell led Cedarville with 10 points as the Owls held Parson to well below his average with six. Miller, Kendall Pittman, Dillon Brewer and Corey Fincher all also had six for the Pirates.
While McGehee jumped to a 6-0 advantage, Cedarville clung close throughout after that. It was tied at 13 at the quarter and Cedarville led 25-24 at the half.
“No one gave us much of a chance to win this game, and no one gave us much of a chance to get this far in the tournament,” Tencleve said. “We don’t care about what other people think. We just came out and played hard and I am extremely proud of these guys, they executed the game plan and did everything we asked them to do. I guarantee you (McGehee) knows they were in a ballgame today.”