Carencro coach Christopher Kovatch said he doesn’t remember exactly what happened in the moments immediately after D’Andre Dudley’s buzzer-beating, game-winning shot gave the Bears a 56-53 upset of No. 4 St. Augustine in New Orleans on Friday night.
All he knows is that he finally understood what legendary North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano meant after he won the national champion in 1983.
“It was just pandemonium kind of after the shot,” Kovatch said. “It was kind of like the (Valvano) moment way back. We ran out onto the court just looking for somebody to hug.”
The win may not have been quite as big for 29th-seeded Carencro (18-13), but it did provide redemption in a season filled with coming up short in close contests.
Kovatch said the gravity of the moment only dawned on him once the team had boarded the bus after the game.
“Once we got back onto the bus, it kind of dawned on me,” Kovatch said. “For all the games that we should have won in a lesser situation that we ended up losing, this was almost a little redemption for us to get the win when it mattered in the big game.”
But several things had to happen to give Dudley the chance to break St. Augustine’s heart on the final shot.
Most importantly, Carencro had to have the ball. Junior guard Araden Adams had a chance to take the lead on the final possession’s first shot but missed and the rebound ended up in the hands of a St. Augustine player.
That’s when Carencro’s unsung hero made the play that know one will remember, but was just important as the eventual shot.
“A St. Augustine player came up with the ball after the scrum for the ball, but Devante Parker actually knocked the ball free,” Kovatch said. “Nobody is ever going to give him credit for it, but the shot doesn’t happen without him.”
“That’s been kind of the case for our offense all year long. A lot of our shots don’t happen without him. It’s such a gratifying thing to see.”
Senior guard Jacob Siner played his role as well, keeping the Bears in the game when it seemed the Knights were about to run away with the game.
Siner scored seven consecutive points in a variety of ways and sunk a buzzer-beater of his own to end the third quarter to bring Carencro within five points of the Knights.
“He was making outside shots, making inside shots and showed some serious post moves and helped keep us in the game,” Kovatch said of Siner. “He really went on a serious stretch right there.”
“At the end of the game, he said he wanted those people to remember who he was. He was just living in the moment and loving it.”