In basketball, especially in playoff basketball, when you either win or go home, it's usually not a good thing to waste opportunities.Saturday afternoon at Ridley High School, in the second round of the Class AAA District 1 playoffs, the Octorara Braves wasted far too many chances to put away fifth-seeded Upper Moreland, and the fourth-seeded Braves' season ended with a 59-51 overtime loss.
Octorara (17-8) shot just 7-for-17 from the free throw line, including missing the front end of three one-and-ones in the fourth period. The Braves also turned the ball over 10 times in the fourth and overtime periods to give the Golden Bears a victory.
"We just missed on too many chances," Octorara coach Gene Lambert said. "Free throw shooting came back to haunt us and we did not take care of the ball late in the game. I just wish we could have gone further."
Octorara started slowly, falling behind by 10 points at the end of the first period. The Braves shot 2-for-11 in the first period and turned the ball over five times.
But once the Braves got their legs under them they took off. Upper Moreland (16-9) was the victim of a 14-2 Octorara run to close out the first half and the Braves went into the locker room trailing 25-24.
"The long layoff (16 days) hurt us early," Lambert said. "But we came back in the second period and made a game of it.'
The Braves' comeback was spearheaded by the inside play of senior forward Nigel Davis, who led the team in scoring with 21 points to go along with nine rebounds. Even though the Golden Bears were trying to pack in their defense and prevent penetration, Davis still had a big game underneath the boards.
In the fourth period, Davis reached a milestone when, with 6:49 left to play, he scored on a follow up reaching the 1,000 point mark in his career. The basket gave Octorara a 39-37 lead.
"He came in here as a freshman and he has done everything we asked," Lambert said. "And he leaves as one of the best players in the area."
Upper Moreland was led by the superb guard play of Sean Caldwell, who led all scorers with 22 points. Every time the Upper Moreland ball-handlers were in trouble, Caldwell called for the ball and restored order.
"As long as I have been playing and coaching, you need good guards," Upper Moreland coach Brian Corrado said. "Sean has been here three years and he does not get fazed by playoff pressure."
With the teams going into overtime it was the Golden Bears who struck first when Steve Kucher scored on a backdoor play. The Braves threw the ball away on their ensuing possession, which led to an easy bucket by Dan Peterman to make it a 50-46.
Moses Togbah hit a short jumper for Octorara to make it a 50-48 with 1:23 to play, but Caldwell drained two free throws to give U.M. a four-point advantage. Caldwell was 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth period and overtime.
"I wanted the ball in my hands because I knew they had to foul," Caldwell said. "I am a good shooter and I knew the game would be over because I would make them."
After another Octorara turnover, Jamal Clay, a 6-5 center who pulled 13 rebounds to go along with 10 points, scored from inside to give Upper Moreland a six-point lead with under a minute to play and Octorara's season came to a close.
"We wasted too many opportunities and gave them the ball much too late in the game." Lambert said.