Woodberry Forest’s basketball team has been on an absolute tear of late, but playing Collegiate this season became the Tigers’ own nightmarish version of Groundhog Day.
In the Prep League semifinals Friday night at Trinity Episcopal, the Tigers locked up with the Cougars for the third time and for the third time, they lost in dramatic fashion, falling 51-48, the squad’s third loss to Collegiate by two or three points.
“This one hurts because we’ve lost three games just like this to them,” said Woodberry coach Craig Dawson. “It stings, but we live to fight another day.”
The loss ends the Tigers’ run through the Prep League but the run that preceded it likely vaulted Woodberry into next week’s VISAA state tournament. The bracket will be released Sunday.
“Three weeks ago I didn’t know where this thing was headed and then to win seven out of eight and six in a row is huge,” Dawson said. “Those guys really started buying into what we were telling them and started having fun again more than anything.”
Against Collegiate, Woodberry tied the game late on a Khalid Thomas 3-pointer. But Collegiate bounced back to win it with a sterling fourth quarter performance at the free throw line where the Cougars went 7-for-8 including Jack Wyatt’s with 20.2 seconds left and two more to make it a 3-point game by Robbie Beran with under two seconds.
The Cougars pulled off the win despite a sterling 28-point performance by Princeton-bound Max Johns who has carried the Tigers of late. Dequece Carter chipped in eight points. Wyatt and Beran each had 15 points for the Cougars.
Collegiate held a 26-18 halftime lead over the Tigers, forcing Woodberry to claw back out of the hole to give itself a chance to win it.
The Cougars move on to the Prep League final Saturday at 5:30 against Trinity Episcopal.