By: Contact Paul Williams at 329-7135
CLEVELAND — Oberlin looked like it would advance to the Division IV district semifinals Friday night.
Until it didn’t.
An Amyr Lewis 3-pointer with a minute left capped a 10-0 Whitney Young run that left the Phoenix with a heart-breaking, season-ending 43-40 loss.
“I thought Whitney Young picked it up defensively down the stretch,” Oberlin coach Kurt Russell said. “We really played really hard. We just couldn’t execute the way we wanted to at the end.”
Eighth-seeded Oberlin looked poised to pull away after a Giles Harrell 3-pointer banked in for a 40-33 lead with just over three minutes remaining.
It turned out those were Oberlin’s last points of the season.
Third-seeded Whitney Young (11-11) responded with five quick points to pull within a basket and tied it at 40 on a DeAngelo Lake layup with 2:15 left.
Both teams turned it over in the next minute as nerves clearly played a factor.
“They are a three seed for a reason and the last couple of minutes showed it,” Russell said. “I think we got a little rattled there during that stretch.”
With just over a minute remaining, Oberlin briefly stole the ball from the Warriors but Whitney Young got it right back and after a scramble found Lewis open on the wing.
His three was pure, hitting nothing but net and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
“Lewis always hustles and makes big plays and that’s just who he is,” Whitney Young coach Vincent Hunt said.
Oberlin (10-14) had one last chance to tie it and got a great look from three but the shot was just short as the buzzer went off and time expired on the season.
“They fought until the end, we fought until the end. We just made certain mistakes down the stretch,” Oberlin senior Devan Yarber said.
The game was an intense, back-and-forth bout from the tip. The teams traded baskets nearly the entire way and only once was the deficit more than five points for either side.
Oberlin held a 13-8 lead after the first quarter thanks to back-to-back threes from freshman Trajon Chambers.
Whitney Young did everything possible to use its huge height advantage with 6-foot-6 center DeAngelo Lake. The senior finished with a game-high 15 points but had to work extremely hard for every basket.
He had his best quarter in the second, scoring seven points to go along with four rebounds and three blocks as the Warriors took a 22-21 halftime lead.
Oberlin re-gained the lead in the third quarter thanks to a strong defensive effort, forcing six Whitney Young turnovers, and ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 35-30 lead into the fourth.
“We gave everything we had and I’m proud of my teammates and my coaches regardless of the loss,” Yarber said. “It was a fun season with a lot of laughs.”
Whitney Young 43, Oberlin 40
OBERLIN (40): Greg Richardson 0-0-0, Terrian Bates 0-0-0, Devan Yaber 3-0-6, Trajen Chambers 3-2-10, Giles Harrell 4-2-12, Darian Taylor 2-0-4, Aaron Hopkins 3-0-6, Marcquis Aguiniga Moore 0-0-0, Jeremiah Austin 1-0-2. Totals 16-4-40.
WHITNEY YOUNG (43): Noah Key 0-0-0, Braxton Putnam 1-0-2, Craig Goines 5-1-11, DeAngleo Lake 7-1-15, Anthony Jordan 4-1-10, Amyr Lewis 2-0-5, Anthony Gilbert 0-0-0, Desmond Horne 0-0-0. Totals 19-3-43.
Oberlin 13 8 14 5 — 40
Whitney Young 8 14 8 13 — 43
Three-point goals: Oberlin 4-15 (Harrell 2, Chambers 2), Whitney Young 2-7 (Jordan, Lewis). Field goals: Oberlin 16-52 (30 percent), Whitney Young 19-47 (40 percent). Free Throws: Oberlin 4-6 (66 percent), Whitney Young 3-5 (60 percent). Total fouls: Oberlin 13, Whitney Young 14. Turnovers: Oberlin 14, Whitney Young 15.