With its three-deep bleacher seating and modest floor space, Gateway High School’s gymnasium will never be mistaken for Duke’s venerable Cameron Indoor Stadium.
But for the 90 minutes that the Gators boys’ basketball team hosted Bay Counties League Central rival Leadership, the diminutive gym transformed into a blaring cacophony of screaming fans, fierce on-court competition and enough dramatic twists and turns to please any self-respecting basketball fan.
In the end, Leadership survived a number of close calls in the game’s waning moments to pull out a thrilling 48-45 victory, silencing a boisterous Gateway (10-10, 5-4) crowd in the process.
Neither team led by more than four points in the contest, but thanks to Leadership’s Dante Stuart’s 14 first-half points, the Griffin (11-11, 7-2) were able to pull ahead 23-22 after two quarters of play.
In the third quarter, the teams played to a near standstill, leaving it at 37-37 entering the fourth.
Leadership’s tough defense forced Gateway into seven turnovers in the final quarter, helping the Griffin take a 47-45 lead with 2 minutes remaining.
The Gators had a number of chances to take the lead, but came up empty on three straight possessions. After Leadership’s Major Corpuz missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 34 seconds remaining, Gateway had a chance to take the lead, but Conor Murphy-Hoffman’s layup attempt was partially blocked and Corpuz, a 5-foot-5 point guard, came up with the rebound.
Back at the line, Corpuz sank one of two foul shots and Leadership survived two more Gateway attempts at a last shot to hold on for the win.
"Coach [George Adkins] gave me a hug after my last miss andsaid I was going to make the next one," said Corpuz, whose only score of the night came on his late foul shot. "I was thinking I had to get the rebound so I could get another chance at the line."
Waldorf 63, Pescadero 18
Barry Horton had 14 points and seven rebounds as the host Wolverines (10-14, 4-5) cruised to an easy win over the Vikings (0-19, 0-9). Kyle Walenga added 10 points for Waldorf, which subbed liberally throughout and had 12 players score.
- Matt Elliser