How good was Madison Prep’s double-overtime game with University High? Good until the last shot dropped.
Jahein Spencer’s rainbow 3-pointer over the outstretched hands of defenders from the top of the key lifted Madison Prep to a 73-72 victory over U-High on Wednesday night at UHS’ Pennington-McKernan Gym.
“I didn’t think the ball was going to come to me at all,” Spencer said. “But it kicked back out to me and I shot it. I had a good feeling. I saw it go in.”
The final shot was a fitting end to a game that featured more plot twists than a mystery novel. At stake was the District 6-3A title, something Madison Prep (20-5, 5-0) clinched with the win. It is the fourth district title in a row in three different classifications for the Chargers, who moved to Class 3A this year.
Of course, once the game went to overtime the mystery wasn’t just who would win, but how the winning team would do it.
“I can’t say enough about these guys,” MPA coach Jeff Jones said. “We’ve lost Kobe Julien for the year with a knee injury and Josh (Leblanc) really couldn’t go tonight, so we shut him down. We’ve got another senior, Jharon Whitfield, who is hurt. They just keep playing and finding ways to get things done. I’m so proud. They refused to lose.”
Eric Reed battled early foul double, but scored a game-high 27 points for U-High (16-9, 4-1). Kyle Ross added 22 points and 9 rebounds for the Cubs.
Jordan Johnson led MPA with 20 points, while Jahein Spencer added 15 and Tyrese Walker added 12.
U-High coach Joe Spencer even had to smile afterward.
“That was quite the high school basketball game,” the U-High coach said. “You really didn’t know who was going to win in regulation or in overtimes. There were momentum shifts. Both teams played so hard and neither one wanted to lose.”
There was a little added drama after Jahein Spencer’s game winner. The Madison Prep fans erupted into cheers and the MPA bench spilled onto the court. Bur the officials sent both teams back to their benches. U-High’s Joe Spencer questioned whether the shot was launched in time.
After a brief conference, the officials gave the 3-point signal and the celebration began.
The finish was a contrast to the early going. The teams combined to make 8 of 28 first-quarter shots from the field. A dunk off a missed shot by Ross just before the buzzer sent U-High into the second quarter with a 10-7 lead.
With Johnson leading the way, Madison Prep quickly took the lead. Johnson scored eight straight points during the first two minuites, turning a three-point deficit into a 15-10 lead.
Madison Prep led 25-15 at halftime. But with Reed and Ross leading the way the Cubs got right back in it. Ross tied at 29-29 with 3:23 left in the third quarter. He gave UHS a one-point lead seconds later, but the score was tied at 36-36 going into the last quarter.
The teams traded the lead in the fourth quarter. Constantin tied it 49-49 with two free throws with 41.5 seconds to go. Johnson of MPA missed a shot before the buzzer.
Micheal Douglas put a charge in the U-High offense with 7 points in the first OT, including a line-drive 3-pointer with 2:18 remaining. Walker’s dish led to a Jason Perry layup with 3.6 left, sending the game in a second overtime.
“All I knew was we couldn’t lose this one,” Walker said. “I missed a shot and was laying on the floor when the shot (Jahein Spencer’s shot) went in. I saw it go through. Wow, what a game.”