Saturday, March 02, 2013
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Raiders in final after topping Carlisle

Junior Matt Doughty sinks a pair of free throws in the final seconds to give North Cross the win.

varsity.roanoke.com

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PETERSBURG - After North Cross lost a tight game to Carlisle for a third time this season in the Virginia Independent Conference tournament last week, coach Bill Hodges reminded his team of one thing.

"Fellas, it doesn't matter," he remembered saying. "The last time we play them is the one I want to win."

The Raiders did just that, rallying down the stretch to pull off a 34-33 upset of top-seeded Carlisle in the VIS Division III semifinals at Virginia State University - a comeback completed by junior Matt Doughty's pair of free throws with 4.7 seconds left.

Carlisle guard Eric Johnson's runner at the buzzer from just inside the 3-point line was off target, sending fourth-seeded North Cross (21-6) into the state title game today at noon against second-seeded Amelia Academy.

"It just feels incredible," Doughty said. "Everyone had to keep it in their mind that we could beat them. And it didn't look like we could beat them early, but we stayed in it. We kept battling. We weren't going to go down easy."

Peter Agba, who played the entire fourth quarter with four fouls, had 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead North Cross. Doughty finished with 10 points for the Raiders, who shook off a horrid shooting night (12-for-56) to pull out the win.

Carlisle (23-2), which got 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks from 6-foot-11 freshman Thon Maker, led for almost the entire contest and was up by as many as nine midway through the third quarter, but faltered down the stretch.

A Maker jumper with 2:58 left gave the Chiefs a 33-27 lead, but the Raiders chipped away at it.

North Cross guard Keith Oddo got a bank shot to fall, his only basket of the game, to cut the lead to four. Doughty hit the front end of two free throws to make it a three-point game with 1:31 to go.

After that, Carlisle became its own worst enemy. A substitution infraction when the Chiefs had the ball led to two North Cross free throws. Doughty, the team's leader in free throw percentage, made 1 of 2.

After the Raiders missed a layup, Johnson was whistled for an offensive foul once he got the ball in the frontcourt, a call that incensed Carlisle coach Jason Niblett so much that he came on the court and got hit with a technical. Doughty made 1 of 2 again to pull the Raiders within 33-32 with 37.5 seconds remaining.

North Cross also got possession. After multiple passes, Doughty was fouled on a layup attempt underneath the basket with 4.7 seconds left, going back to the line after a timeout.

Hodges' message to Doughty, who had gone 3-for-6 on his free throws in the previous minute and a half?

"I didn't say one single word," he said. "I said [to the team], 'After Matt makes these free throws, here's what we're going to do.'"

What was Doughty thinking?

"Honestly, I thought I was going to miss both," he said. "That's what you dream about when you're younger, but boy, when you get to the actual stage, it's nerve-wracking."

Doughty calmly drained both. The first trickled in off the rim. The second was pure, giving the Raiders their first lead since the second quarter.

Carlisle pushed it up the floor the other way but Johnson's off-balance runner didn't connect, sending the Raiders onto the court in a celebration a long time in the making.

"The times that they beat us was more us than them. And the time that we beat them was more them than us," Hodges said.

"Luck is always on the side of the guy who is prepared to take advantage of it. And we were prepared. We made the free throws. We defended the last shot."

NORTH CROSS (21-6)

Lawson 0 0-0 0, Oddo 1 0-0 2, Doughty 2 5-8 10, Dakermandji 0 0-0 0, Caveness 0 0-0 0, Holley 1 2-3 4, Calloway 2 0-0 4, Lamance 0 0-0 0, Smith 1 0-0 2, Bagliani 0 0-0 0, H. Call 0 0-0 0, Lowery 0 0-0 0, D. Call 0 0-0 0, Agba 5 2-3 12, McCoy 0 0-0 0. 12 9-14 34.

CARLISLE (23-2)

Johnson 2 2-2 6, N'Diaye 2 3-4 8, Ferguson 0 0-0 0, Pickurel 0 0-0 0, Hamlet 0 0-0 0, Cuesta 2 1-2 5, Maker 5 1-4 12, Mosquera 0 0-0 0, Joyner 1 0-0 2, Dickerson 0 0-0 0. 12 7-12 33.

North Cross 8 4 10 12 - 34

Carlisle 9 8 11 5 - 33

3-point goals - North Cross 1 (Doughty). Carlisle 2 (N'Diaye, Maker). Total fouls - North Cross 14, Carlisle 14. Fouled out - N'Diaye. Technical Foul -Carlisle coach.

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