The first lead for the Buccaneers came with 70 seconds left and University High held off Cosby for a 54-51 win at Sullivan North’s Carroll Gym.
University High went to 28-5 and extended its winning streak to nine games. Next for the Bucs is a home sectional contest, scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m., against Harriman inside Brooks Gym. Cosby (23-8) has to travel to Oneida for its sectional game on Monday.
“Obviously I’m ecstatic, I’m so proud of my guys who kept grinding and kept grinding,” University High head coach Justin Penley said. “They continued to believe even when Cosby stretched the lead out there. Our guys kept fighting. Down the stretch we made plays. It wasn’t coaching adjustments — it was kids making plays.”
One of those players who made plays was tournament MVP Kaleb Meredith. He not only scored a game-best 16 points, but did things in the final seconds to earn the honor.
With 22 seconds to go, he laid in a basket to put the Bucs up 52-51 after he created a turnover with a back tip. The Eagles had the ball and a chance to take the lead, but a missed 3-pointer was a rebound for Cosby. A putback attempt was blocked by Meredith, then he was fouled with two seconds left. Meredith went to the free throw line and knocked both shots.
“He’s a player, what can you say other than he’s a player making plays,” Penley said about Meredith. “I think if Kaleb was here he would say he didn’t play his best game tonight, but when it counted the most he was at his best.”
Cosby was paced by Braden Shaffer, who had 16 points, while Austin McKeehan added 15. Those two helped Cosby build leads as many as nine points, including in the third quarter.
A score from Marshall Fleenor with five minutes left in regulation tied the game at 44 as he finished with nine points. Colin Daniel added a dozen points for the Bucs’ cause.
The Region 1-A Championship is the first for University High since the 2008 team reached the state semifinals. A year later the Bucs returned to the Region 1-A final, but fell to Cloudland.
Cosby 54, North Greene 51 (OT)
North Greene was with Cosby, but the Eagles did enough in overtime to secure the Region 1-A title.
Lauren Ford hit a 3-pointer in the final minute of overtime to put Cosby up 52-51. Braylon McGaha added two free throws to pad the margin. McGaha scored a dozen points while tournament MVP Leila Groat paced the winning side with 16 — despite not scoring in the fourth quarter.
North Greene was paced by Breezy Savage with 19 points while Shelby Davenport scored 15.
North Greene’s sectional contest is at Midway Saturday, when Cosby hosts Oneida.