Putback at buzzer lifts Mount Pleasant by Woodbridge 56-54 in boys tourney

Julius Cannon

WILMINGTON — The ball rimmed out and for a brief moment it looked like, against all odds, Woodbridge High had forced overtime.

But there was still a second left on the clock.

Mount Pleasant High’s Samahj Gaymon converted on a putback attempt at the buzzer to deal the Blue Raiders a 56-54 loss in the first round of the DIAA boys’ basketball state tournament on Tuesday night. Woodbridge, the tournament’s 19th seed, ended the season at 12-9 overall.

Mount Pleasant (17-4), seeded 14th, will play at third seed Caravel (15-5) in the second round on Thursday (7 p.m.).

Woodbridge trailed three times in the final 1:01 but fought back to tie it each time. The Blue Raiders played the fourth quarter without freshman Deronn Kane who had 21 points before he left the game with an injury.

“We knew the odds were against us coming up here,” said Woodbridge coach Julius Cannon. “We fought until the last buzzer. We played with sportsmanship, played with class and we fought hard.”

Woodbridge never led in the second half but Mount Pleasant’s lead was never larger than seven points. The Blue Raiders closed within 46-43 with 4:01 left thanks to a 4-0 run to set up the furious finish.

Jamon Kane made it a one-point game on a layup with 1:59 left. The Green Knights responded with a bucket until Troy Haynes made a layup, was fouled and converted the ensuing free throw to knot things at 50-50 with 1:01 to go.

Mount Pleasant went on top 52-50 and this time Woodbridge was whistled for a charge. The Blue Raiders stole the ball off the resulting inbounds pass though and Jamon Kane was fouled going up for a layup.

Kane made both free throws to give Mount Pleasant the ball with 42 seconds left. Fah’Mir Ali’s layup then gave the Green Knights the lead again at 54-52.

Once again, Woodbridge tied it on a floater by Richard Massey. There was eight seconds remaining, Ali drove the length of the court and failed on his layup attempt but Gaymon was there with the putback.

“We fought hard especially down the stretch,” Cannon said. “We didn’t give up which is something we tended to do this year.”

The two teams had just played each other at Woodbridge on Thursday night in the regular season finale. Mount Pleasant won that contest 64-48

Things were much closer this time around despite Woodbridge having to go on the road.

“We knew what to expect from them after playing them last week,” Cannon said. “That was good. We watched film, went over their strengths and weaknesses, just tried to execute off that.”

Ali was the game’s top-scorer with 24 points. Gaymon and Charles Russell followed with 11 points apiece.

Troy Haynes was the only other player besides Deronn Kane in double figures for Woodbridge. Haynes finished with 12 points, Jamon Kane added nine while Massey chipped in six.

All three of Haynes, Massey and Jamon Kane graduate at the end of the year.

“My message at the end of the season to my seniors especially is it’s more about life than the game,” Cannon said. “They’re getting prepared for the real world now. My underclassmen, my message to them is that this feeling isn’t good. We got work to do in the offseason to get better.

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