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Berwick High School's Larenz Clark dribbles during the first half of Friday's Class 3A first-round playoff game against Brusly. Clark led the Panthers with 21
points, but missed free throws and big shots by Brusly doomed Berwick in a 62-60 double overtime loss. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

Missed FTs, big Brusly shots doom Berwick in 2OT loss

Repeatedly Friday evening, the Berwick High School Panthers flirted with clinching a victory against Brusly High School in Class 3A first-round playoff action. But repeatedly, the Panthers left Brusly an opportunity with missed free throws, and Brusly kept itself in the game with big shots.
Finally, in the second overtime, the home team cashed in for good as Brusly made a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left, and Berwick couldn’t get a trey to fall on the other end as the Panthers fell, 62-60 in double overtime.
While Berwick led 60-56 in the second overtime with 33.7 seconds left after Larenz Clark sank two free throws, Brusly’s Nick Penell sank a three pointer with 22.9 seconds remaining to cut Berwick’s lead to 60-59.
After Brusly’s Chase Green fouled Clark with 21.4 seconds remaining, Clark missed both free throws, keeping the score at 60-59.
Later in the overtime period after a jump ball was called on a scramble on the floor for possession and Berwick called a full timeout with six seconds left, Brusly’s Chris Williams received the ball and hit a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left to give Brusly a 62-60 lead.
Brusly had Berwick’s Cody Roberie in a corner near the Berwick baseline, and the ball went out of bounds as the buzzer expired. Brusly celebrated, thinking it had one the game. However, the referees ruled that Berwick had called timeout with 0.7 seconds remaining, and the Panthers got another shot at a win.
Roberie in-bounded to Tysin Meads, who got a good look at a three-pointer, but it was off the mark, ending the Panthers’ season.
In all, Berwick was 15-of23 combined from the free-throw line in the fourth period and two overtimes and 22-of-36 from the free throw line in the entire game.
“Missing 14 free throws will definitely get you, but the effort was there,” Berwick High Coach Sean Comeaux said. “We played hard all night long. Yes, first half was clean. Second half (was) pretty rough. You can’t score two points in the first six minutes of the third quarter and just expect just to take it.”
Comeaux said his team got “a little too comfortable with ourselves” instead of keeping up the intensity and attacking the basket.
“That’s something that we’re going to have to grow from and understand that,” he said.
While Berwick led 48-43 against Brusly in the fourth quarter with 50.8 seconds remaining after Clark sank two free throws, Clark missed two attempts with about 40 seconds remaining, while on offense, Brusly got an offensive rebound of a miss and scored to cut Berwick’s lead to 48-45 with 27 seconds left.
Brusly’s Jason Holiday, the team’s best player, quickly fouled Berwick’s Meads with 26.6 seconds left in the game. Meads made one of two free throws to extend Berwick’s lead to 49-45.
John LeBlanc connected on a bucket with 15.9 seconds left to cut Brusly’s deficit to 49-47, and Brusly again quickly fouled a Panther, again Meads, with 14.4 second left to stop the clock. Meads made 1 of 2 free throws to extend Berwick’s lead to 50-47.
However, the missed free throws in the quarter left Brusly a window of opportunity, and the home team took advantage as Williams sank a three-pointer with 7.5 seconds left to tie the game at 50.
Berwick’s desperation three-pointer at the buzzer was no good, and the teams headed to overtime.
In the first overtime, Berwick took as much as a 54-51 lead after Donald Tillman sank one of two free throws with 1:47 remaining.
However, Penell sank a three-pointer that tied the game.
The Panthers got a break with LeBlanc missing a 1-and-1 attempt with 11.3 seconds remaining after he was fouled by Tillman.
Berwick’s Josh Carver’s buzzer-beat attempt at a three was no good, forcing the second overtime.
Berwick started Friday’s game without showing any signs of nervousness. In fact, the Panthers’ connected on an alley-oop early between Tillman and Travis Whitehead to take a 5-2 advantage. The Panthers led 14-11 after a quarter.
Berwick opened up a 20-13 lead in the second period with less than six minutes remaining in the first half after Whitehead score off an assist from Tillman.
Brusly went on 6-2 run to cut its deficit to 22-19 after Holiday sank the second of two free throw attempts with 2:48 remaining in the first half, but Berwick countered with an 8-4 run to close the half, capped by Clark’s lay in.
The third quarter started off a disaster for Berwick as the Panthers went cold from the field and allowed Brusly to climb its way back into the game and tie it at 30 with 4:20 remaining on a lay in by LeBlanc. Berwick got its first bucket of the quarter on a Tillman lay in with 3:59 remaining for a 32-30 lead.
While the Panthers’ lost Whitehead for the rest of the period and some of the fourth after he picked up his fourth foul with 2:30 remaining in the period and the Panthers ahead 33-30, teammates picked up the slack offensively as Berwick got a lay in from Clark and a three-pointer apiece from Roberie and Carver leading them to a 41-32 lead after three quarters.
However, Whitehead’s absence hurt in the rebounding department, Comeaux said.
In the fourth quarter, Brusly quickly cut its deficit to just 41-38 with 6:07 remaining in the game.
Clark led three Berwick players in double figures with 21 points. Other double-digit scorers included Whitehead with 14 and Tillman, 12. Other Berwick scorers were Roberie, six; Carver, five; and Meads, two.
Comeaux lauded his three seniors, Roberie, Meads and Clark, for helping to rebuild the program.
“We started off with a rough start, because it’s been bad in the past, and we’ve made it to where it’s become a pretty good program where people know us, and they’re the one that started that, and I can’t thank them more,” Comeaux said.

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