YOUNGSTOWN — The play didn’t work out quite like it was designed, but with the game in his hands Trent Scott was still money for Lewiston-Porter.
Scratch that. Money via the bank, as the Lancers’ dream season continues.
Scott’s leaning, bank shot before the shot and game clock expired propelled No. 2 seed Lew-Port past seventh-seeded Health Sciences, 60-58, Saturday afternoon before an almost sell-out crowd here in a Section VI Class A-2 boys basketball quarterfinal.
Scott’s game-winner means the Lancers (18-3) will return to action during Championship Week at Buffalo State as they face third-seeded Cheektowaga (14-7) in a semifinal contest Wednesday. It’s Lew-Port’s first appearance at Buffalo State since losing in the Class A-2 final in 2016 to Amherst.
“It feels great,” Scott said of reaching the semifinals. “I had to make up for some of the mistakes I made in the game. I went in with confidence. I got the ball and made a play.”
He did, but the senior who finished with 17 points wasn’t sure his final shot, a broken play originally designed to be an open three-point attempt off a pick and roll that the Falcons snuffed out, would be good. He had to duck away from a defender in order to get a clean look and shot release.
“I thought it was going to be off but I made it so it’s a good feeling.” Scott said.
“Hats off to Health Sciences,” Lancers coach Matt Bradshaw said. “They’re not a seven seed. To me they’re a top-four seed. ... I’m just proud of our kids. Five-point deficit at halftime, five-point deficit after three quarters. They just stuck with it.”
That the Niagara Frontier League champions did against a Health Sciences program coming off back to back state semifinal appearances in Class B. The Falcons lost a sectional playoff game for the first time since losing in the Class B-2 final to Fredonia in 2016. The Section VI competition committee moved the charter school from Class B into A-2 this season.
“Like I told our guys, this loss can’t take away anything we’ve accomplished over the last two years,” Health Sciences coach Tyree Parker said. “(These), are the kinds of games we want to be in win, lose or draw. I’m still proud of our guys.”
Though the Lancers looked as if they were going to smoke the Falcons early, opening the game with a 10-0 run, Health Sciences did what it usually does in playoff games. It didn’t panic, it became tougher. The Falcons used defense to create offense, forcing a bunch of turnovers and went into halftime leading 37-32 after a Kam Briggs three-pointer.
Health Sciences quickly extended its lead to 41-32 but the Lancers fought back, with eighth-grader Jalen Duff leading the charge. Duff scored six straight points, including a steal and layup to spark a 10-0 run freshman Roddy Gayle (19 points) capped with two free throws.
“Hats off to Jalen Duff,” Bradshaw said. “What eighth-grader gets to the basket like that let alone 11th or 12th grader but what a performance by that eighth-grader to get us going.”
From that point it was anyone’s game as the lead changed eight times with the teams being deadlocked thrice. Two ties and two lead changes came in the final 5:57, with the most important lead change happening after the Falcons tied it for the last time, 58-58, on Ja’Vaughn Jones’ tough runner with 1:36 left.
The Falcons’ defense forced two misses during the final 52 seconds but failed to come up with a rebound. A tie up over that stretch also went to the Lancers, setting the stage for a Great Scott moment.
“Trent is always willing to take the last shot,” Bradshaw said. “Trent had a little look that he wanted it. It’s his senior year. I’m glad he made it. I’m happy for him.”