Photo courtesy of Paul JoyceThe Severna Park boys were all smiles following their epic four-overtime triumph against Broadneck. "It was comparable to the state championship for lacrosse junior year," said Cullen Joyce, who hit the game-winning basket at the buzzer, of the Falcons' emotional satisfaction following the game.
Instant Classic: Severna Park Boys Outlast Broadneck In 4OT
The February 17 boys basketball game between Severna Park and Broadneck will be remembered for a long, long time.
Falcon and Bruin players, students and families alike, formed a memory for the ages on that Friday night in Broadneck’s gym, staging a four-overtime classic ultimately decided on Cullen Joyce’s buzzer-beating layup that lifted the Falcons to a 67-66 win.
Joyce’s career-high 22 points along with 20 points by Chase Harding and 10 by Jake Hallett helped the Falcons emerge victorious from 48 minutes of neck-and-neck basketball despite a game-high 36 points by Broadneck’s Damon Gomer and 14 points by Shane Davis.
The win was the final punctuation on a redemption season for the Severna Park basketball team, giving the Falcons six wins on the year, including a season sweep of Broadneck. Joyce’s game-winner capped a 4-0 day for the Falcons, as the JV girls, JV boys, varsity girls and varsity boys all posted wins over the Bruins, repeating their 4-0 day from the schools’ first meeting this season on January 17.
“There was just a refuse-to-lose mentality by both teams,” said Severna Park head coach Paul Pellicani of the epic contest. “They’d hit a big shot, we’d come down and respond. They’d make two free throws, we’d come down and answer. It was just an outstanding high school environment.”
After regulation and four overtimes — the equivalent of a game and half — Pellicani noted, “At the end of the night, you had some tired kids.”
The gym was literally at capacity — Broadneck administrators had to turn latecomers away at the door — and the atmosphere was loud and spirited throughout a game that wouldn’t have come to such a dramatic conclusion if not for savvy playmaking and a second half rally by the Falcons. Severna Park led 12-11 after the first quarter but by halftime trailed 24-18, and Broadneck extended its lead to 37-28 after three quarters.
Adding to the tension was foul trouble by both teams, which necessitated smart defense and made Severna Park’s 12-3 scoring margin in the fourth quarter that much more impressive, said Falcon senior guard Scott Huntley.
“Me, Cullen and Chase all had four fouls,” said Huntley. “I got my fourth in the third quarter, Chase got his in the fourth, and Cullen got his in the first overtime. So we’re all pushing, but playing defense without fouling.”
After ending regulation tied at 40, the teams tied 10-10 in the first overtime, 3-3 in the second and 6-6 in the third to enter the fourth overtime tied at 59. Broadneck, which made clutch free throws to send the game into a first and second overtime, twice had the final possession in overtime but couldn’t convert a winning bucket. Meanwhile, Severna Park played with little substitution and protected the ball exceptionally well, allowing only eight turnovers in 48 minutes.
“For high school basketball, in that amount of time, eight turnovers is phenomenal,” said Pellicani. “If you’re talking about a key to the game, you can put it on that right there.”
A pair of made free throws by Gomer gave Broadneck a 66-65 lead with less than nine seconds left on the clock in the fourth overtime, and the Falcons had no timeouts left.
Pellicani said the Falcons practice end-of-game situations regularly, and they were prepared to make a play.
“We do a lot, we work a lot on time and score situations. One of them, we call it the Tyus Edney,” he said, referring to the former UCLA guard’s 1995 coast-to-coast game winner in the NCAA tournament. “We wanted the ball in Cullen’s hands.”
Joyce delivered 18 of his 22 points in the overtime periods after going scoreless until the fourth quarter, and he saved his biggest two points for the game’s final act. Hallet took the ball out of bounds after Gomer’s free throws and found Joyce, who looked up to see 84 feet of hardwood, five defenders, nine seconds and a one-point deficit in front of him. Joyce put the ball on the floor and eventually drove down the center of the lane and leaped toward the left side of the basket.
“Everyone else was locked off, and they didn’t want to foul and put me on the line,” said Joyce. “Jake found me, and I looked up and saw there was like nine seconds left, so I knew I had time. I went slow, and [the defender] didn’t get out of the way, but he also didn’t want to foul me, so I got a decent look at it, and I was able to switch it back to my right hand and was able to put it in.”
— Katie DeFeo (@ktdefeo) February 18, 2017
Joyce, a long-stick defenseman for the Severna Park lacrosse team who scored an overtime game-winning goal to defeat Mount Saint Joseph’s last April — similarly running the length of the field before firing for a goal — was a huge part of the Falcons’ 2016 state championship in lacrosse. He nonetheless said the edge goes to the rivalry game-winner if he has to weigh the two shots against each other.
“I think I’m going to have to go with the bucket against Broadneck, definitely,” said Joyce, adding that the atmosphere for the game, the emotions of the rivalry and the exciting finish combined for a memory unlike any other.
“It was comparable to the state championship for lacrosse junior year,” said Joyce. “The amount of people and fans for both teams, Broadneck did a great job getting their fans to come out and make it crazy tough to play. It was just so loud, and we had a ton of fans, and it just meant a lot, the fact that it went into four overtimes and we ended up being the ones to pull it out.”
Said Hallett, “The environment was unbelievable, and the way they played against us was harder than any team has played against us all year. You could tell that each team wanted to win so badly, and it was just a great all-around game.”
The victory gave Severna Park a season-sweep of the Bruins, who they also defeated at home on January 17, as well as another signature win on the year. A week before the four-OT bout with the Bruins, the Falcons knocked off a 16-3 Southern team at home 63-56 on February 10 behind 27 points by Harding, 10 by Hallett and six assists by Huntley.
Despite the rarity of a four-overtime game, the February 17 game was not the first instance of one in the Severna Park-Broadneck rivalry: the Bruins defeated the Falcons 68-65 in four overtimes at Broadneck on February 10, 2005.
This time, the Falcons won the marathon, and Broadneck coach John Williams acknowledged how epic and memorable the game was despite the outcome going to Severna Park.
“It was a lot of fun. The atmosphere was second to none. It was probably the best atmosphere I’ve been involved in in my 18 years as a player, assistant coach and head coach at Broadneck,” said Williams. “Needless to say, our kids were a little disappointed given the amount of effort they put into the game and the team we were playing against. It was a pretty emotional game all around. Any time you lose a game, it’s a challenge. But the people involved, the crowd, the players, that’s a game that won’t soon be forgotten.”