Undefeated Haverford School works overtime to beat Malvern Prep in fast-paced thriller

Haverford >> As if to satisfy the standing-room-only crowd Friday evening, host Haverford School and Malvern Prep treated the fans to, not four – but five – quarters of fast-paced, high-octane basketball.

And when the final buzzer sounded, Haverford School (17-0, 5-0) gutted out a 93-90 overtime win against Malvern Prep (12-6, 4-1) in a battle of Inter-Ac powers.

Haverford’s 6-foot-6 senior guard Christian Ray, who scored 36 points despite picking up three first-quarter fouls, said, “This was the fastest game we’ve played this season, by far. I knew Malvern was going to play fast, run a lot up and down the court. Malvern shoots the ball a lot, and we had to match it.

“When the game ended, my first thought was, ‘Thank God it’s over.’ My legs had started cramping and I was getting really tired.

We just played tough – we never mentally checked out, never got too high or too low. We were trailing by seven, then we were up by seven with five minutes left and [Malvern’s] Deuce Turner hits a three from 30 feet away to give them momentum.”

Haverford School head coach Bernie Rogers said, “We knew Malvern Prep gets up and down quickly, and can really, really score points. But I didn’t know it would be this exciting.”

Rogers thought one of the keys was midway through the second quarter, when Haverford fell behind 39-31.

“We had three guys in four trouble at that point, and I thought we did a good job keeping it within reach,” said Rogers.

Ray, who had three fouls at the time, scored the Fords’ next eight points on a putback, an end-to-end drive and a trey from the right side to cut the Friars’ lead to 40-38.

“Getting three fouls actually made me more aggressive,” said Ray. “I trusted my teammates to get us back in the game, and then when I went back out there, I tried to go after it – I knew they weren’t going to give it to me.”

On the next play, Haverford 6-foot-4 freshman guard Jameel Brown nailed a three to put the Fords ahead 41-40. He finished the night with 15 points.

“Jameel is really special – he makes the guys around him better,” said Rogers. “He defends, he does anything you ask of him as a coach.”

The half ended with the score tied at 44-44, and the Fords held a slender 65-63 lead after three periods. Haverford held a 74-67 lead with a little under five minutes to go, but Malvern’s Deuce Turner fired in a three, then the Friars’ Fran Oschell got a putback, was fouled (Ray’s fourth foul of the night) and made the free throw to make it 74-73.

After Malvern junior guard Spencer Cochran and Friars’ sophomore guard  Rahdir Hicks tallied to give the visitors a 78-75 lead, Ray drove inside to cut Malvern’s lead to 78-77.

With 31 seconds left, Cochran nailed two free throws to give Malvern an 80-77 lead. The Friars held an 81-79 lead with 15 seconds left, but Jameer Nelson drove inside with 3.2 seconds remaining to tie the score at 81-81.

Nelson, who had returned to action Tuesday against Springside Chestnut Hill, finished with 14 points Friday.

“By the fourth quarter, it got tiring, but you’ve got to push through things like that, you’re fighting for your teammates and they’re fighting for you,” said Nelson. “I think the key tonight was us getting offensive rebounds on foul shots. The game seemed so long. I didn’t even realize that we scored 93 points.”

“Jameer gave us such a lift tonight, being back with us,” said Rogers.”

Coming into Friday’s game, the Fords were getting good rebounding from Ray (11 rpg) and Richards (7.5 rpg).

Rogers said, “I thought we did a decent job crashing the boards down the stretch, and made some timely stops. Tyler Seward made some big defensive plays. When the game ended, my first thought was, ‘Ow, wow.’”

For Malvern Prep, Deuce Turner scored 25 points, Fran Oschell chipped in with 22, Rahdir Hicks added 18 and Spencer Cochran netted 17.

Malvern Prep head coach John Harmatuk said, “It was a great game, and we had our chances to win – if we’d made a couple of more free throws, and got rebounds on the missed free throws, we could have won. We battled our butts off. We’re going to lose the rebound battle most nights, and we make up for it with the turnover battle, but we’ve got to come up with a few more rebounds when we need them.”


NOTES: Before the game, Haverford School held a ceremony in which Ray was honored for scoring 2,000 points in his high school career (two years at Octorara, three at Haverford School). Ray tallied his 2,000th career point earlier this month.



Haverford School 93, Malvern Prep 90

Malvern Prep            24     20      19     18     9   –    90

Haverford School      23     21      21     16    12  –    93

Malvern Prep (90): Cochran 4 8-8 17, Hicks 8 1-2 18, Turner 8 5-7 25, Leach 2 2-2 6, Dudek 1 0-0 2, Frankenheimer 0 0-0 0, McElwee 0 0-0 0, Oschell 8 4-5 22, Carra 0 0-0 0, Totals 31 20-24 90.

Haverford School (93): Brown 5 3-5 15, Ray 15 4-8 36, Burke 2 5-6 9, Richards 4 0-3 8, Seward 4 3-6 11, Nelson 5 3-6 14, Totals 35 18-34 93.

Three-point field goals: MP – Cochran, Hicks, Turner 4, Oschell 2; HS – Brown 2, Ray 2, Nelson.

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