On Monday, December 17, the Grace Boys Varsity Basketball team faced off against Columbia Prep at home. The game started off like any other with a large section of fans filled with students and parents, along with the cheerleading squad. Although I am writing this article, I also played in the game. The first quarter was one to forget for the Grace team as we trailed by 10 heading into the second quarter. The second quarter was dominated by the Grace squad as we went on two runs of 8-0. The halftime pep talk from Coach Quinn got the team to keep the momentum and their energy heading into the second half.
During the 3rd quarter, the stands became very crowded as the game became more intense. Grace ran just an eight-man rotation throughout the entire game so by the end of it, many of the team’s players, including myself, were exhausted. We held a nine point lead in the fourth quarter, but Columbia Prep rallied all the way back and tied it up. The momentum swung back and forth during the entirety of the regulation periods. Grace held the last possession of the fourth quarter, and everyone watching the game was on their feet, with their phones out taking a video or stomping on the bleachers and banging their hands on the ceiling over their heads. In all my years at Grace Church School, a total of 12 years, I’ve never witnessed something like that before.
We had six seconds left and it was our ball. Despite the unreal excitement, Chase Gardner ‘20, who ended with 15 points, missed the buzzer-beater at the end of the fourth quarter, so we headed into overtime. During the extra-time, Grace just played its five starters throughout both periods of overtime. The lineup consisted of Chase, Malcolm Gibson ‘19, and myself at guard, with Will Simotas ‘19 and Nathan McCarthy ‘19 playing the two big men. People were watching from outside the court because it was too crowded inside for overtime.
The first overtime was back-and-forth but Columbia Prep had an opportunity to hit a game winner with 1.3 seconds left, but the play was broken up by Malcolm. The unforgettable game headed to double overtime where Grace never took their foot off the gas and with the loud crowd support, we had too much momentum and energy to lose the battle. We prevailed in double overtime after a 40-minute game, as almost every player for Grace on the court, had made a crucial free throw in the second overtime. We won the game by seven points and it was an experience that I’m sure nobody on the Grace squad will forget anytime soon.
After having time to settle in on the winning feeling, I asked Coach Quinn what he felt about the unreal game and the amazing fans. “It was whole lot of fun. Obviously having it at the home gym was awesome and the fans definitely brought energy that helped the team. Being that it was in the new gym, it was definitely one of the most memorable and exciting games.”
Cover Photo: Chase Gardner making a layup in the second overtime, putting a dagger on the win for Grace.