Tevin Mack’s basket with two seconds left lifted Dreher to a 71-70 win at South Pointe in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
With South Pointe clinging to a 70-69 lead, Dreher (18-6) dribbled the ball across midcourt and called a timeout with 7 seconds left in regulation.
While Dreher coach Jeff DiBattisto and South Pointe coach Melvin Watson drew up x’s amd o’s, everyone in the gym knew it would be Mack who would get the ball and decide the outcome.
“We knew it would go into the post for Mack,” Watson said. “We wanted to man him up, but we took our eyes off him for a split second.”
That was all it took. Lorenzo Ward threw the inbound pass up high to Mack on the right side of the lane. The 6-6 senior wing and Virginia Commonwealth commit, put the ball to floor one time to get near the baseline. He initiated some contact that cleared space, then finished off the Stallions with a kiss off the glass.
South Pointe (16-7) attempted a half court shot as the buzzer sounded but the ball caromed high off the backboard.
Mack finished with a game-high 23 points – 20 came in the second half. Dreher will host Lower Richland next week as the postseason continues for the Blue Devils.
The game was physical. Tempers flared. Whistles were blown – a lot. There were 54 fouls called and four players fouled out. On the final play, Mack definitely made contact with the South Pointe defender. No foul was called.
“The game wasn’t called consistently,” Watson said, carefully. “It was a difficult game to call. It was really hard to explain to the kids (after the game) how we lost on that play.”
DiBattisto said the play could have been whistled either way.
The final inbound play was nothing unique, nothing fancy. Mack said it is “No.1, just our basic stuff.”
The play could have gone to guard DeAndre Nathaniel, DiBattisto explained. “Then he and Mack would ball screen and play 2-on-1.”
Nathaniel added 19 points.
“This was a big game,” Watson said with a tear-stained face. “Our seniors did a a great job for us all year. Dreher is a good team and Mack is a good talent.”
Watson and DiBattisto were roommates during their freshman year at the University of South Carolina. Watson played basketball and DiBattisto was a team manager.
“Melvin is one of the best people around,” DiBattisto said. “No one wants to play their friend. This was a game between two very good teams. This should have been for the Upper State.”