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Despite Richard Washington's best efforts, which came in the form of a 34-point performance, Walsingham Academy's season came to a gut-wrenching end during a 68-64 double overtime loss at home against Miller School in the first round of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II tournament on Tuesday.
The gameplan for Walsingham heading into Tuesday's matchup against Miller School was to protect the paint and make the Mavericks earn their points from the perimeter.
"We played zone so we could pack it in, because they're a good shooting team and not a great shooting team," Walsingham Coach Billy Barnes said. "We knew if we could keep them out of the paint, we would have a chance."
Unfortunately for Walsingham, Miller School's 6-foot-10 center Tyler Creammer wreaked havoc inside the paint and helped control the boards. Creammer's dominance inside allowed other Miller School players to find open driving lanes, and ultimately free throw attempts resulting from the drives.
Both teams played at a break-neck pace in the first quarter, opting for quick transition play instead of slowing down into a half-court offense. The result was a somewhat sloppy first quarter in which both teams struggled shooting from the field.
With both teams knotted at 9-9 after the opening quarter, the game began slowing down as Miller School fed the ball inside to Creammer more and Walsingham saw many of its possessions end with contested shots by Washington.
Neither team separated itself significantly in the first half, and Miller School entered halftime with a slight 25-22 lead over Walsingham.
After struggling to shoot from the perimeter in the first half, Miller School received a lift from Jaylin Reed in the third quarter. Reed, who went 0-for-7 from the field in the first half, drained three consecutive 3-pointers for the Mavericks coming out of halftime.
Reed's shooting kept Miller School in the game as the Trojans tied the game up thanks to five-point performances from Washington, Jaylin Stewart and Dusan Vicentic in the quarter.
Walsingham had a chance to put the game away in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 48 apiece. With seconds dwindling in regulation, Washington drove to the lane and attempted a layup, but his shot clanked off the rim and sent the game into overtime.
Heading into the first overtime, Barnes made a concerted effort to let Washington control the offense.
"Richard is our best player, and as a coach you want to put the ball in the hands of your best player and let them make plays," Barnes said.
Washington came up big for Walsingham in the first overtime period, scoring six of Walsingham's 11 points in the first overtime.
A Wake Forest commit, Washington had another opportunity to end the game for the Trojans in the first overtime, but came up short on his last-second layup attempt that allowed the game to head into a second overtime period.
The game got out of hand for Walsingham in the second overtime period as Miller School attempted 20 free throws in the four-minute overtime period. Not only were the Mavericks more efficient at drawing fouls on offense, but Walsingham was forced to foul late in an effort to extend the game.
With Miller School leading 67-64 with five seconds left, Walsingham Academy drew up a play to give Washington an open look from behind the 3-point line. Unfortunately for the Trojans, Washington stepped out of bounds on the play without shooting the ball.
Miller School's Chance Sheffey was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and sank a free throw that put the game out of reach for Walsingham, ending the Trojans' season.
Walsingham finishes its season with a final record of 20-9.
"For the youth that we had and the amount of new guys, we did some really good things," Barnes said. "We beat some people we shouldn't have beaten and we played people tough throughout the year."
Miller School: 9 16 12 11 7 13 — 68
Walsingham: 9 13 15 11 7 9 — 64
Miller School: Reed 20, Alston 10, Creammer 18, Sanchez 15, Sheffey 5
Walsingham: West 2, Vicentic 13, Washington 34, Stewart 12, Ptacek 2, Demodna 1
3-point goals: Miller School 6 (Reed 3, Alston, Sanchez, Sheffey), Walsingham 6 (Vicentic, Washington 3, Stewart 2)
HRA Downs Atlantic Shores to Reach VISAA Division II Quarters
Hampton Roads Academy scored a 75-69 win at home against Atlantic Shores Christian during Tuesday's VISAA Division II first round matchup.
Leading the way for the Navigators were Brian Hart with 25 points and Anthony Picott with 24 points.
The Navigators took a 17-12 lead after the first quarter and extended their lead to 35-28 by halftime.
Atlantic Shores significantly closed its gap in the third quarter, outscoring HRA 21-15 to bring the game within one point heading into the final quarter.
However, HRA managed to close the game out in strong fashion and hang on for the six-point victory.
HRA (19-7) will now prepare to visit top-seeded Blue Ridge School on Wednesday in the VISAA Division II quarterfinal round.
Atlantic Shores: 12 16 21 20 — 69
HRA: 17 18 15 25 — 75
Atlantic Shores: Pitt 31, Cannady 6, Trotman 13, Nelson 3, Bartaskas 6, Kimbaugh 10
HRA: Humphrey 15, Canavos 2, Wingfield 5, Hart 25, Picott 24, Mather 2, Carlos 2
3-point goals: Atlantic Shores 3 (Pitt 2, Nelson)