With Dunham trailing by three points and the ball in his hands Friday, Jordan Wright dribbled up the left side of the court and made a pull-up 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left to force overtime, an additional four minutes that allowed the Tigers to dispatch Madison Prep 57-50.
Just six seconds earlier, Wright had missed a free throw that would have tied the game.
“We thought they were going to foul but they didn’t, so I knew I had to go and make it,” Wright said. “I had to make up for that free throw. I just knew I had to make it.”
Dunham (13-5) won for the eighth time in its past 10 games. The Tigers, who lost in last year’s matchup 69-47 at Madison Prep, added the signature triumph along with earlier wins over Washington-Marion and Peabody.
“I’m not going to completely discount that (6-foot-7 Georgetown signee) Josh Leblanc didn’t play; he obviously makes a huge difference for their team,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “Our team has grown a lot. Last year’s game taught us something. The state finals (loss to Country Day) taught us something. Our schedule this year has really put us in a position to be ready for this game, and it showed.”
Wright, who battled foul trouble in the third and fourth quarters, scored a game-high 20 points on 7-on-18 shooting. Forward Salle Wilson added 15 and guard Oddyst Walker 13 for the Tigers.
“I was confident; I know that I work for this, and that’s a moment I live for,” said Wright, who also grabbed eight rebounds. “It wasn’t any pressure. I just made the shot.”
Dunham took the lead in overtime and never relinquished it, outscoring Madison Prep, 12-5.
Walker, who opened the extra session with a basket, took an assist from Wright and buried his only 3-pointer to break a 47-all tie with 1:51 remaining.
The Tigers extended their lead to 54-49 with four straight free throws from Wright and Wilson, the latter with 48.8 seconds to go, when the Chargers lost leading scorer Kobe Julien to fouls with 41.9 seconds left.
Julien, a UL-Lafayette signee, was slowed by Dunham’s defense and a third-quarter ankle injury to finish with 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Point guard Tyrese Walker added 12 points.
“It shouldn’t have come down to that last shot,” said Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones, whose team was 10 of 20 from the free-throw line, including 4 of 9 in the fourth quarter. “You can’t miss that many free throws, and that was the difference in the game. That’s what cost us.”
Dunham's 24-13 halftime lead ballooned to 36-24 on a pair of third-quarter free throws from Oddyst Walker with 54.7 seconds left.
Madison Prep’s Jahein Spencer started a 15-2 run that bridged the end of the third quarter with the start of the fourth quarter. Reserve guard Elijah Tate added five straight points, and Julien’s free throw gave the Chargers their first lead of the game at 39-38 with 3:44 left in regulation.