The clutch free-throw shooting of guard Dan Woods, who made four straight with less than 30 seconds remaining, broke open a one-point game leading the Jaguars to a 52-45 win over the Patriots at Great Valley Friday night.
Garnet jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. Great Valley was searching for some sort of attack, obviously missing point guard Malcolm Weaver, who did not play in the first half. They turned to the outside shooting of Brian Friis and Shane Stackhouse, who each hit three-pointers.
Friis' jumper narrowed the lead to 11-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The Patriots then turned to senior forward Ryan Power. He took over the first five minutes of the second quarter, grabbing two offensive boards, sinking two free throws, a put-back and a three-pointer. When his long jumper found the bottom of the net, Great Valley was leading by eight.
But Garnet fought back. Pat Lynch, who was the Jaguars leading scorer with 17 points, started to warm up. He hit one of two free throws and then buried a three-pointer to cut the lead in half. Clarence Hodges then made a nice jumper to narrow the lead to two. He then stole a Stackhouse pass and took it all the way to tie the game.
Then it was Woods turn. He stole a Friis pass and found Carl Robinson alone for an easy lay-up. After Friis missed two free throws at the other end, Woods again found Robinson alone under the basket.
By the end of the first half, Garnet had stretched the lead to 25-20.
Weaver appeared for the first time to start the second half and appeared to have a lot of penned-up energy. He got involved immediately, finding Friis alone at the three-point line, and the forward buried it.
After a Garnet turnover, Weaver grabbed an offensive rebound and took it back outside, then turned and made a long jumper, much to the delight of the home crowd, tying the game at 25-25.
Hustling Jaguar Matt McHenry hit two long-range jumpers, the second good for three points. Then Lynch took over for Garnet, twice driving past Patriot defenders for tough lay-ups and a 38-33 Garnet lead with 43 seconds left in the quarter.
After a Great Valley timeout, turned the ball over, but thrilled the crowd with a Jordan-esque block at the other end. The quarter ended with Garnet leading 38-33.
Great Valley came out in the fourth playing tough on defense. David Bushnell and Power each came up with blocks as the Jaguars tried to convert offensive rebounds.
The ball eventually came out to Weaver who pushed it up court and buried a three-pointer to cut the lead to one.
Hodges started the hot streak from the free throw line for Garnet, sinking two to extend the lead to 40-37.
On the next possession, Weaver drove to the basket and was hit hard, but no foul was called, sending the home crowd into a uproar.
But when the Patriots got the ball back after forcing a turnover, Friis turn the anger to delight, burying a three-pointer and tying the game at 40-40 with five minutes left.
Neither team could do much from their, each turning the ball over three times. Then Power found Bushnell inside with a great pass, but the forward was hacked when he went up for the lay-up. This time he got the call, and made both free throws, giving Great Valley their first lead of the game, 42-40.
But McHenry came right back for Garnet, hitting a jumper to tie the game. Weaver gave it right back, turning it over a half-court, and McHenry again found the range giving the lead back to the Jaguars, 44-42.
Then Power brought the crowd to their feet, drilling a three-pointer to give the Patriots the lead 45-44.
But that was the last thing to cheer about for the home team.
Lynch hit his first basket of the quarter with less than a minute left, but it was the biggest shot of the game, giving Garnet the lead.
Woods and his clutch shooting from the line took over from there.