St. David’s coach Will Coley called the Warriors’ 49-46 overtime win over Grace Christian on Monday a defining moment for the team.
Midway into their N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association EPIC league schedule, both teams entered the game with a 4-2 conference record.
“It’s a huge win and I think it’ll be a huge confidence booster for our team,” Coley said. “Having to battle and show resilience, this is one of those moments in a season you call a definitive moment, so it’s good to be on the winning side.”
St. David’s led early on, but was held without a field goal in the second quarter. Grace Christian’s Michael Taylor led the Eagles, scoring 13 points in a 15-2 swing to put his team up 25-18 at the half.
Taylor picked up his third foul before the break, putting the Eagles’ leading scorer on the bench for much of the third quarter.
St. David’s started the half hot, pulling even with Grace Christian with just over three minutes to go in the third and eventually regaining the lead.
“We did some good things early on that we knew we could go back to, to get back in it,” Coley said of the Warriors’ second-half effort.
Grace Christian’s Bryant Vucich came back in the game to help stop the Eagles’ slump. Vucich scored 11 of the Eagles’ final 16 points of regulation as the teams traded leads five times to end the fourth quarter tied at 41.
After being held on the bench with foul trouble, Taylor started back up in overtime, firing a 3-pointer to put Grace Christian up in the extra period, but St. David’s senior Graham Reynolds put the Warriors back even with an and-one, as the two battled to lead their respective teams to a win.
Turnovers and fouls would eventually doom Grace Christian, but a St. David’s lane violation on its own free throw with 7.3 seconds left would allow the Eagles one last shot.
Taylor’s long 3-pointer attempt at the buzzer was no good, securing the win for St. David’s. Taylor led Grace Christian with a game-high 22 points.
“Every possession counted, whether it’s the first quarter or overtime,” said Grace Christian coach John Green. “We’ll get a rematch with them. We’re a resilient group.”
Green said Grace Christian has been tested in various ways this year. Of the Eagles’ 17 games so far this season, 14 have been on the road. Monday’s game against St. David’s was originally scheduled to be held at Grace Christian, but was moved because of a scheduling conflict at the school.
Coley said he was proud of his team’s effort and feels good about the Warriors going forward in conference play. All of the credit, he said, goes to the players.
“This win wasn’t about coaching,” Coley said. “It was their refusal to lose.”
Reynolds led St. David’s with 15, and Maalik Copeland-Morgan added 14.