Springbrook Escapes 4A North Semis with Win Over Paint Branch

In a highly contested 4A North battle, Springbrook survived a determined Paint Branch team.

Not only did Paint Branch pack the gymnasium at Springbrook, but their fans provided one of the loudest and most exciting atmospheres for a game.  The Springbrook fans–along with their energetic band–went back and forth with Paint Branch’s fans to create incredibly high decibel levels during each momentum swing.  Springbrook handily beat Paint Branch by 26 and 15 points in their two regular season games, but it was evident early that this game would not be a blowout.

Despite 10 first quarter points from Springbrook’s Tomazye Anderson, Paint Branch led 22-19 at halftime.  Paint Branch still had a 30-26 advantage after three quarters which was followed by an epic fourth quarter.   Paint Branch’s lead disappeared early in the fourth quarter, leading to a back and forth battle.  Tied with six minutes left, tied under four minutes, somebody had to step up in the final minutes to advance.

With Paint Branch clinging to a one point lead in the final minute,  Springbrook stepped up their defense.  PB’s  Tristan Tolliver drove through the lane and attempted to take it to the rim when Brandon Emery reached in and stripped the ball.  The Brook was off and running.  Charles Taylor dribbled across the mid-line and passed it back to Emery.  Timmy Christian was spotted up in the corner and Emery delivered a quick pass to Christian and he nailed a three pointer to take a 41-39 lead.  As the home crowd went berserk, Paint Branch inbounded the ball and navigated through a tough Springbrook press and looked to have a good look at the hoop when high-flying Charles Taylor came from underneath the basket to swat the Paint Branch shot attempt into Demetric Austin’s hands.  Austin fired a long outlet pass to a streaking Anderson who scored on a contested layup to take a four point lead with 28 seconds to play.

Paint Branch hurried the ball down the court once again and pounded it down low to Justin Hackley.  Hackley picked up a foul on Springbrook’s Austin on a shot attempt and preceded to calmly nail two free throws to bring PB back to a 43-41 deficit with 20 seconds remaining.  Austin was immediately fouled after the inbound, sending him to the line for a one-and-one.  He missed the front end leading to a PB rebound and a quick drive towards the Springbrook basket that resulted in a missed shot and Austin collecting the rebound and getting fouled once again.  He calmly sank his first free throw and 12th point of the game to go up 44-41 with 5.5 seconds remaining.  After a timeout, Austin returned to the line for his second attempt and missed it leading to a Paint Branch outlet and a quick Springbrook foul.

Paint Branch was not in the bonus and would inbound the ball from just in front of the Springbrook bench near half-court with 1.9 seconds left and down three points.  It was evident that the Springbrook coaches were instructing their players to foul. Paint Branch’s Christian Roberts caught the inbounds pass took one dribble and fired up a half-court shot.  Springbrook’s Anderson fouled Roberts, but the foul occurred a split second too late, as Roberts was already in his shooting motion and would get three free throws and the chance to tie the game.  A premature celebration occurred as students rushed the court–unaware of the foul–and celebrated the missed buzzer shot.  Roberts would get his chance after the court was finally cleared and came up short on his first attempt.  Game over.  Springbrook advances and several skirmishes broke out postgame in this dramatic, highly tense and emotional battle.

Tre Galloway and Christian Roberts led Paint Branch in scoring with ten a piece and Springbrook was paced by Tomazye Anderson with 17 and Austin with 12.  Next up for Springbrook is Sherwood who defeated Westminster in the other 4A North Semifinal by a score of 60-48.  The two teams will meet on Saturday at 4 pm at Springbrook with a regional championship and a berth to the Comcast Center on the line.