BATON ROUGE – Live Oak squandered every bit of a nine-point second-half lead Wednesday night at St. Michael forcing the Eagles to turn to desperate measures.
Trailing by one point with two seconds left, a length of the court inbounds pass found its way into the hands of guard Dada Capling, who made a short jumper in the lane to give Live Oak a 60-59 win over the Warriors.
Lawrence Pierre got a hand on the pass and deflected it into the lane where Capling grabbed it before going up for the game-winning shot.
The shot hit the back of the rim and went straight down as the Live Oak bench erupted.
“We threw it deep, and the play wasn’t there at first,” said Capling, who finished with five points. “The ball just happened to fall in my hands, and I just happened to make the shot.”
It was a play that Live Oak coach John Capps said hasn’t worked before.
“We were just in the right place for that play,” Capps said. “We’ve run that play several times in practice, and it never works. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time its ever worked, but it’s a good win.”
Live Oak’s Bryan Bayonne topped all scorers with 19 points and got support from Lawrence Pierre (16 points) and Vince Bayonne (11 points).
Live Oak (15-5) defeated St. Michael 70-41 on Nov. 27 at Live Oak.
In the early going Wednesday, the game had a similar feel as the Eagles raced out to a 30-17 lead with five minutes left in the first half.
Max Alfred, St. Michael’s leading scorer with 17 points, got six of St. Michael’s next 11 points to help the Warriors close the gap to 33-28 at halftime.
Live Oak appeared ready to put the game away after Bryan Bayonne’s three-point play put the Eagles on top, 47-38, with 1:36 left in the third quarter. But St. Michael sandwiched two baskets around a pair of missed free throws by Vince Bayonne and trailed 47-42 entering the fourth quarter.
St. Michael got within three points five times before a jumper by Wilson Fields cut Live Oak’s lead to 56-55 with 28 seconds left. Forced to foul, St. Michael sent Live Oak to the foul line twice where the Eagles made 2 of 4 attempts, opening the door for the Warriors final gasp.
Alfred drove from the left of the basket where his off-balance heave found the bottom of the net as he was fouled with eight seconds left. He three-point play gave St. Michael its first lead of the game at 59-58, but the game was far from over.
After Live Oak inbounded the ball, Vince Bayonne was called for a charge in the lane. With less than three seconds on the clock, Live Oak immediately fouled Alfred, who missed two free throws to set the stage for Capling’s game-winning shot.
“We didn’t play well,” Capps said. “I feel so bad for St. Michael’s because they deserved to win this game. We didn’t play the way we’re capable and they had a lot to do with that. They played much better and were more composed than when we played them (in November).”
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