Trailing Watertown by 2 points with 22.0 seconds left, Cardinal Spellman called timeout to draw up a last-second play. Senior point guard Ryan Roach dribbled off a screen and roll and looked for senior forward Joe Crane down low.
Roach found Crane wide open on the right block to force overtime and the Cardinals held Watertown to 2 points in the extra four minutes to knock off the Raiders, 51-44, in the Division 3 state semifinal on Tuesday at TD Garden.
“That’s the way we wanted it to go, I can take credit for that,” Spellman coach Michael Perry said with a laugh. “But [the players are] the ones that worked hard. It wasn’t given to them.”
Trailing, 38-27, with 5:57 left, Spellman called time out and the Cardinals’ thunderous student section began chanting “All for Joey.” Joey Glynn, a two-time All-Scholastic at Spellman who signed to play at Bentley in 2012, collapsed while playing in a summer recreation league game on June 3 and died later that evening. This season, the Cardinals have worn “JG21” patches over their hearts to dedicate this season to their fallen teammate.
With the crowd fueling the Cardinals, Spellman outscored the Raiders, 15-6, in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 42 and then held Watertown scoreless for the first 3:49 of the 4-minute overtime to advance to Saturday’s Division 3 State title game at the DCU Center. Spellman avenged its 2011 defeat at the hands of Watertown in the same state semifinal on the parquet.
Senior guard Austin Joseph scored all 7 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime and Crane, who had a game-high 20 points, scored the Cardinals’ other 8 points of the fourth.
“We just know we have to work together to get it done,” Crane said.
Donovan helped Crane control the paint as well, scoring 15 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking 3 shots.
“We just had all-out intensity,” Donovan said of the comeback. “We locked down, started playing good D and they stopped making shots.”
Senior center Tim Hairston scored 13 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, including 10 offensive, to lead Watertown.
Watertown outscored Spellman, 27-13, in the second and third quarters after trailing the Cardinals, 14-11, in the first frame. The Raiders hit 5 of 12 3-pointers in the first half and pulled ahead while Roach struggled, turning the ball over three times in the opening half.
But Watertown hit on just 1 of their 13 attempts from downtown in the second half and Roach only turned the ball over once. The poised point guard dished a game-high nine assists while scoring 7 points.
“Sometimes we get in a funk, but we’ve got to win. We’ve got to,” Roach said. “We want to keep winning for the Spellman community, for the teams, for the coaches and for Joey. The fans get more pumped for the games than some of us.”