Gramling’s Grizzlies lost to the Raiders 61-53 on Wednesday night in the opening round of the state playoffs after leading by 12 points late in the third quarter.
Region 7AAAAA runner-up Creekview (16-13) gave up 31 points in the fourth quarter after holding Mays (21-6), the No. 3 seed of Region 6AAAAA, to just 30 in the first three quarters combined.
“They waited to throw their pressure on us until the end of the game,” Gramling said. “We didn’t do a good job handling the pressure, so I’m very frustrated. I feel really bad for the kids because we were there. We led three quarters.”
The teams swapped the lead early in the game with Mays going up 9-6 on a 3-pointer by Ayinde Russell with 2:30 left in the first quarter. Creekview responded with Matt Leahy scoring seven unanswered points to end the quarter with the Grizzlies up 13-9.
Creekview’s lead only grew in the second, and Jared Johnson’s 3-pointer with 4:50 left in the half put the Grizzlies up 22-10 for their first double-digit lead. John Lambert made a 3 for Mays, and Russell and Lundy Lugman each added free throws, but Mays was held to six points in the period and trailed 22-15 at the half.
Creekview’s Brandon Pressley made an impact in the third quarter, scoring seven of his 10 points, but Mays’ Natrez Patrick, who was scoreless in the first half, stepped up and scored 11 points to carry his team through the quarter.
Creekview led 41-30 after Jesse Wood closed the third with back-to-back baskets for the Grizzlies.
The shift in momentum was subtle.
Lugman made a pair of free throws for Mays with 6:30 left in the game. Pressley answered with a 3 for Creekview, but the Grizzlies didn’t score again for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, Mays got a 3-pointer from Russell and a pair of free throws from both Tahj Brooks and Patrick.
When Leahy finally scored again for Creekview, Mays had cut the gap to 46-39. Free throws by Jaylen Smith and back-to-back 3-pointers by Lambert and Russell knotted the game at 47-all with 3:30 left to play.
Russell scored on a pair of layups to give Mays a 51-47 lead — the first time the Raiders were up since their 9-6 advantage in the first quarter.
Lugman’s jumper with 1:10 left on the clock gave Mays a 53-47 advantage before Creekview finally responded. Leahy scored on a free throw before fouling out of the game with 47 second left.
Austin Graham added a jump shot and Beau Blackwell nailed a long 3 with 13 seconds left, but it was too late for the Grizzlies.
Leahy led Creekview with 14 points, while Griffin Ghesquiere finished with eight.
Russell led Mays with 25 points — 15 of which came in the fourth quarter. The Raiders for 14-for-18 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Gramling said his team just didn’t put four quarters together.
“That had been our thing all year,” he said. “On this stretch of good basketball that we had been playing, we were doing that, but it got us (Wednesday). They made the plays down the stretch, and we didn’t.”