NEW HAVEN — Amid the pack inside the paint, the big right hand of New Haven’s 6-foot-11 center Steve McElvene rose and swatted back the 10-foot shot of Concordia’s D.J. McCall.
Five feet away from it all was Concordia senior Brandon Webb, who caught the block, unloaded a jump shot from the free-throw line, clanked it off the glass and the ball went in as the buzzer sounded.
“We try to tell our guys that good things happen to kids who play hard all the time, and now they’ll believe us a little bit,” Concordia coach Josh Eggold said outside his locker room after the Cadets’ stunning 64-63 victory over the Bulldogs, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped.
The victory culminated a come-from-behind effort for the Class 3A No. 3 Cadets (16-3), who trailed 40-27 with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter.
But before the quarter ended, Concordia scored six consecutive points in 40 seconds to get within seven points, and from there, the game was back on.
New Haven (14-5) led 63-60 when guard Monte Stevenson dropped a pair of free throws with 6.3 seconds left. When Stevenson was fouled, Bulldogs coach Al Gooden clapped from his seat on the bench but was nevertheless handed a technical foul.
McCall, who led Concordia with 21 points, dropped the two technical free throws, and Concordia had the ball for the last shot, which ended in Webb’s game-winning bucket.
“It bounced right to me,” Webb said. “I had to put it up. (The clock) was counting down. It was crazy. (McElvene) blocked it right to me. I stepped up and shot it and banked it in.”
“We were trying to isolate D.J. in the post and trying to get Steve out of there, so we ran a high screen to get him up the floor,” Eggold said. “(McElvene) came back to make the block, and Brandon Webb, that’s such a typical play for him in the sense that he keeps playing all the time, plays hard.”
In the silence of his own locker room, though, Gooden said, “It’s on me.”
“I shouldn’t have gotten the technical foul,” Gooden said. “Whatever it was, I was wrong. I’m the leader of those guys. Whatever it was, I was wrong.”
New Haven bounced back from a 12-9 deficit after the first quarter when McElvene scored 10 of his 20 points in the period to send the Bulldogs up 26-23 at half.
Marq Rogers added 13 for Concordia and Thomas Starks had 12, while V.J. Beachem scored 15 for New Haven.