Dajour Cleveland hit a disputed 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime, but the Beaufort High boys basketball team lost a 73-67 heartbreaker in overtime in the Class 2-A playoffs to the visiting Wilson Tigers on Friday night in Beaufort.
"We're very proud of our guys,” Beaufort head coach Nate Livesay said. “If I would've told anyone at the beginning of the season that we would win the region championship, win a home playoff game and come within seconds of winning a second playoff game, everybody would've laughed. Our coaches told the boys there's nothing we can say to them about a loss that will make it any easier. But we couldn't be any prouder of them than we are.
“It shows a lot of heart and character to come out and compete like they did and come back from that large of a deficit to tie the game and take it into overtime in the playoffs."
Top scorers for the Eagles were Monty White with 16 points, Henry Jones with 15 and Matt Garay with 14.
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The Eagles started off slowly, falling behind by as many as 9 points in the first period. But Beaufort soon began to find its groove in the second, taking the lead with seconds remaining.
An Eagles foul during the final play of the first half led to a pair of Wilson free throw points and a 30-29 halftime lead.
The second half started much the same for Beaufort, and the Tigers got out to a sizable lead, as big as 17 at times.
With one minute left in the game and trailing by 10, the Eagles made a run for the lead. The game got increasingly heated in the final 30 seconds with threeplayers fouling out and a spectator being ejected.
With 24 seconds on the clock Beaufort was able to tie things up thanks to a free throw by Henry Jones. After the inbounds by Wilson, an immediate foul sent the Tigers to the line when Jamal Bryant missed his shot after going 8-for-8 leading up to that point.
Beaufort then missed an easy layup to take the lead before Wilson took the ball the length of the court to score a basket and go up by 3. On the inbounds, Cleveland stumbled and threw up an off-balance shot that dropped through just as time expired. Originally called a 2-pointer, after a meeting of officials, Cleveland was given the 3 points and the tie at the end of regulation.
Overtime was a back and forth battle with both teams staying close until the final buzzer. Wilson's defense ended up being too much for the Eagles to handle in the end.