Missed free throws doom Providence boys

NORCROSS -- There is no question what the Providence Christian boys will be working on in preparation for the state tournament beginning next week.

Mt. Pisgah Christian's first trip to state will come as a region No. 1 seed and the Patriots can thank the Stars' poor foul shooting for that.

Key misses at the end of regulation and in overtime shortchanged a Providence comeback and Mt. Pisgah claimed a 64-54 double-overtime victory Saturday night in the Region 5-A championship game at Wesleyan's Yancey Gymnasium.

Nate Boucher had 20 points for the Stars and Kareem Adekunle and Nikko Cormier scored 16 and 14 respectively. But Providence (18-10) was 12 of 26 from the foul line and even worse than that in the clutch.

Adekunle was fouled on a rebound scramble and had two free throws with 1.9 seconds left in regulation. But he missed both.

Then Cormier missed two free throws with 24.6 seconds remaining in the first overtime and Mt. Pisgah freshman Aaron Winchester sent the game into a second overtime period with a basket at the buzzer.

In contrast to Providence, Mt. Pisgah (19-9) was 17 of 23 from the foul line and went 10-for-12 in overtime.

It was the fourth victory in six days for Mt. Pisgah, the fourth-place team from the Division B where Providence finished first. The Patriots had to win a play-in game on Monday and then needed overtime to beat Holy Innocents' on Tuesday in the region quarterfinals.

Providence led 8-3 early, but Mt. Pisgah went on a 10-2 run to go up 13-10 at the end of the first quarter and it was 23-19 at halftime.

Mt. Pisgah went ahead by as many as 12 points in the third quarter and it was 41-32 going into the final quarter despite Bucher's effort to help the Stars close. He had 11 of Providence's 13 points in the quarter.

The lead was 11 for Mt. Pisgah when Providence went on its fourth-quarter comeback. Bucher scored a late basket to tie the game at 48, but Adekunle couldn't come through at the foul line to win it.

Bucher, Adekunle and Charlie Scott were named to the all-region team, but the Stars failed to win a second tournament title in three years.

Winchester had 13 points for Mt. Pisgah, while John Towns scored 13 and Kyle Sloter added 12.

St. Francis 49, Wesleyan 46

Shane Smith, named the region player of the year, had 18 points and 14 rebounds, but Wesleyan went ice cold against the St. Francis zone and lost 49-44 in the Region 5-A third-place game.

The Wolves (17-11) led by seven points in the second quarter before going stagnant offensively and was down by 11 points in the fourth quarter before making a late comeback bid.

With the loss Wesleyan will have to play a state tournament preliminary game on Tuesday. Wesleyan had beaten St. Francis (16-12) twice in the regular season.

Justis Morgan had 13 points and Nigel Jackson scored 10 for St. Francis. Will Clifton, who joined Smith on the all-region team, had nine points for Wesleyan.