Sicily Island's Devion Dunbar dunks a rebound in the first quarter of a Class C semifinal game against Elizabeth at the Top 28 tournament Tuesday at Burton Coliseum. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 4:44 PMThe Sicily Island Fighting Tigers hit three big shots in the most clutch of moments Tuesday as they advanced to the Class C state championship game with a 85-81 double-overtime win over top-ranked Elizabeth.
The Tigers (22-13) will meet New Living Word for the state championship at 4 p.m. Friday.
“We are just delighted to be here,” said Sicily Island head coach Curtis Shavers. “We give Elizabeth all the credit in the world; we knew they were going to be a tough team.”
With 11 seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs (28-5) had a chance to seal the victory, up 68-65 with sophomore Kolby Friday at the foul line. Friday missed both of his chances, giving the Tigers one last shot to send the game to overtime.
And that is exactly what they did. With 1 second remaining, reserve guard Robert Plains Jr. put up a Hail Mary 3-pointer that dropped through the net as the buzzer sounded.
“I knew it was going in as soon as it left my hands,” Plains said.
In the first overtime, the teams battled back and forth before Elizabeth guard Colby Lafauci put the Bulldogs on top 79-77 with a pair of free throws with 9 seconds left.
Friday, who dominated the boards through the first four quarters fouled out 1 minute into the overtime, eliminating a huge defensive presence.
“It affected us on the boards both offensively and defensively,” said Elizabeth head coach Leslie Maddox. “It changed our game plan a lot.”
Those weren’t the free throws that made the difference, however. With 3 seconds left, Sicily Island point guard Larry Plummer was fouled while driving to the hoop, sending him to the line with the Tigers’ championship hopes in the balance.
He made both of them, forcing double overtime.
“It wasn’t too much pressure because I’m used to it,” Plummer said. “In that moment I knew I had them.”
In the final 4 minutes it was all Sicily Island, as it sucked the life out of Elizabeth.
“That’s probably one of the best ballgames I have ever been a part of,” Maddox said.” We fell short, but I’m proud to say my kids didn’t quit. We will be back and hopefully next year there will be a better outcome.”
Leading the way for the Tigers was eighth-grader Devion Dunbar, who scored a game-high 34 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Plummer added 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Lafauci and Friday finished with double-doubles. Lafauci scored 26 and grabbed 13 rebounds while Friday added 20 points and 15 rebounds.