The shot was big.
The celebration was bigger.
With 3.5 seconds remaining in the game, Forest Hill’s Jamond Bradley toed the free throw line with the game knotted at 56-56. He dribbled twice and took a deep breath.
He hit both shots.
And three-and-a-half ticks later, he was swarmed by a jubilant throng of his teammates, cheerleaders and a handful of fans who leaked onto the court from the bleachers.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Bradley said, not even cracking a grin following the Patriots’ 58-56 road win over Provine (10-5) on Friday. “I just blocked everything out. I knew I had it. No worries.”
Forest Hill’s Jerry Currie couldn’t say the same.
“Was I nervous?” the Patriots coach said. “Oh yeah, not going to lie. I was real, real nervous. I have faith in our kids, but that was just a crazy, crazy ending.”
Bradley got his chance at the free throw line because a Provine player reached for the ball and drew a foul just seconds after Tu-Woo Milton hit a layup to tie the game at 56-all.
The referees huddled at midcourt for nearly a minute, discussing the call.
“I don’t really know how to describe this one,” Currie said. “Nerve-wracking, maybe? Or frantic. It was just a big, big win — huge, really,”
Huge, in Currie’s eyes, because his Patriots got the win even with Jerekius Davis putting on a tantalizing performance.
Provine’s Dandy Dozen forward didn’t get off to the start he wanted.
When he settled down, he was nearly unstoppable.
Davis bucketed 27 points, 25 of which came after the first quarter.
“Jerekius Davis is a beast,” Currie said. “We all know that.”
Added Bradley: “We knew Jerekius was going to get his. He always gets his. We knew we just had to spread it around and really be in a groove.”
Bradley finished with 17 points. Two other Patriots players scored in double-figures, led by LaDarius Marshall with 12 and Joseph Coleman with 11.
“This is a big step for us,” Currie said. “We’re just starting to figure things out. Hopefully this get a little momentum going for us.”
Forest Hill (11-5) took its first lead of the game when Bradley sunk a 3-pointer with 3:09 left in the second quarter.
Though the lead would change six times thereafter, Bradley and his teammates never lost sight of a victory.
“This win means so much to me, really, because it was a team win,” Bradley said. “We don’t really have a star or anything like that. But we just kept grinding.”
Contact Riley Blevins at email@example.com. Follow @Riley_Blevins.