WARREN - It wasn't what the Warren G. Harding Raiders needed to see.
They had long ago put the memory of Davierre Andrews' last-second shot in an early-season loss to the Lorain Titans behind them when the sophomore haunted them again Saturday night. This time Andrews took a pass from his older brother Devon in the left corner and made a 3-point shot in the waning seconds to give the Titans a 51-48 win in a Lake Erie League game.
It has to be enough to give nightmares to Raiders coach Andy Vlajkovich, who has watched Harding lose several games this season on the final possession.
"The same stuff kills us every game. It's the same mistakes," Vlajkovich said. "The transition defense and not paying attention to details. We haven't done it, and it's probably cost us four or five games. At the end of the day I have to take the heat for that because I've got to get the message across to them."
This loss was particularly frustrating for the Raiders because they had led for all but a short period of time in the third period, including a 48-41 edge when Shakem Johnson scored on a layup. Davierre then took matters into his hands by scoring the final 10 points of the game.
The Titans (10-11 and 7-6 in the LEL) called a timeout with 27.6 seconds remaining. It appeared that Devon was setting up to take the final shot, but when he saw his brother open to his left, he quickly put the ball into Davierre's hands. Davierre hit all net on the shot.
"We figured he (Devon) would get the basketball," Titans coach John Rositano said. "He's a really good offensive player. We figured they're going to double him or do something to get the ball out of his hands. He made the decision to kick it out to his brother, and the sophomore kid buries it."
The Raiders (10-10 and 4-8 in the LEL) had a chance to add to a 48-46 lead, but King Garner missed two free throws. Davierre tied the score at 48-48 on a strong drive to the basket with 1:25 remaining in the quarter.
Harding guard Gabe Simpson missed a 3-point shot. Lorain then held the ball until Davierre's heroics.
It was a dramatic ending to a game that started poorly for the Titans, who fell behind 16-7 after one period and 22-15 at halftime. Vlajkovich started each of his four seniors on Senior Night, which meant increased playing time for substitutes Kenyon McGriff and Jautice McDonald.
"I'm proud of my seniors, and I feel really bad that their Senior Night had to happen like that," Vlajkovich said.
Harding trailed for the first time at 27-26 on a 3-point shot by Rashod Berry. The Raiders responded with two free throws by Shondell Jackson, one free throw by Jarelle Johnson and a fielder by Derek Culver on the way to a 33-29 lead after the third quarter.
Johnson was the only Raider in double figures with 13 points.
Devon led the Titans in scoring with 12 points. Davierre scored 12 points.
"I told the guys that the game wasn't won on that shot (by Davierre)," Rositano said. "We grinded it out, and we made enough plays to win the game. We won in the last second, but the game was won the other 31 minutes."