Spartans Stopped Short
Hughesville’s fans rose to their feet in unison last Wednesday night, imploring their team for one more comeback in a memorable season. For one of the few times in the past four years, their echoes weren’t answered, as the Spartans couldn’t deliver one more key basket and/or one more defensive stop.
But while the 53-46 loss to Imhotep Charter in the PIAA Class AA semifinals still stings, these Spartans and their fans will have plenty to reminisce, including one last unforgettable performance of the 2008-09 season.
Still, the Spartans are left to wonder “what if?”
“The toughest thing in the world is when you think about, it is if they turn around and win the whole thing we’ll look at like we were a couple layups here, a couple layups there of giving ourselves that opportunity,” said Hughesville coach Nick Tagliaferri, who guided the Spartans to the PIAA semis for the first time in school history.
“We got great looks tonight and just didn’t convert. I think if we would have converted around the rim a little bit more in the first half, the confidence level would have been up a bit and we would have won the game.
“Clearly there wasn’t a whole lot of difference between both teams. We just didn’t make shots and they did. They converted some tough shots, they stuck some 3s, and they shot better than we did.”
The Spartans gained a great measure of respect from the newly-crowned Eastern Region champions, a year after losing to the Panthers, 63-36, in the second round of the PIAA playoffs. Imhotep expected a war from the Spartans and that is what it received.
Hughesville trailed 49-46 late in the fourth quarter and had a pair of chances to tie, but sharp-shooting Rezin Davis came up short on one 3-pointer and long on another.
“But who do you want taking the shot?” said Tagliaferri. “That’s the best player to ever play basketball at Hughesville. It’s not even close.”
Imhotep finally secured a rebound and Parrish Grant calmly sank the front end of an one-and-one, plus the second free throw, for a five-point lead. The Spartans (23-6) never scored again after Davis cut the deficit to three points with 2:03 remaining.
Rezin Davis 4 1-2 10, Bryan Hoover 3 0-0 8, Brian Gerney 5 2-2 12, Addison Hanford, Jordan Holmes 1 1-2 3, Andy Laychur 0 0-0 0, Bryce Pardoe 0 3-4 3, Drew Eiswerth 1 0-0 2, Greg Taggart 3 0-0 8. Totals: 17 7-10 46.
Imhotep Charter 16 13 12 12 – 53
Hughesville 13 13 9 11 – 46
3-point goals: 5 (Hoover 2, Davis, Taggart 2). Records: Hughesville 23-6.