The ‘EPIC NIGHT!’ series is a first-person account of some of the greatest high school basketball games that we’ve witnessed firsthand. I have a few guest writers lined up who will contribute to this series over the coming weeks, but please, if you have a game that you watched that has stuck with you over the years that you’d like to write about, e-mail patrickhayes13(at)gmail(dot)com. We’d love to have as many people contribute to this series as possible, especially from outside of the Flint area — most of my experience is in this area and I’d really like to get some feedback on great games over the years from other regions of the state.
Up today, Pardeep Toor looks at a controversial buzzer-beater from 2009.
By Pardeep Toor
A long time ago when I had the metabolism to consume peanut butter by the spoonful and was athletic enough to dip chips in salsa in one swinging motion, I used to cover Flint area sports for The Community Newspapers/Flint Journal in Genesee County. It was occasionally annoying, often rewarding but looking back at it years later – it was the best job I ever had because 1) my boss was the best (see: publisher of this very site) and 2) the basketball was phenomenal.
Despite my best efforts to maintain objectivity, I always leaned towards Carman-Ainsworth during the 2009 high school basketball season. The contrast between the serious demeanor of head coach Bob Root and the laid back core of the team consisting of Glenn Cosey, Jaylen Larry and Demondre Chapman was always amusing and I obsessively gravitate towards underachievement, which was the hallmark of this Cavaliers team.
Until it seemed to all come together on March 5, 2009 on the road against rival Powers Catholic.
Larry had a monstrous 22 points and 14 rebounds, Chapman added 16 points and five blocks, Cosey ran the show with 11 assists and they all combined to make plays (Chapman blocks!) that made you pencil them in for spots on college rosters in the coming years. For the first time all season and just a week before the start of the playoffs, the three starters and Division I prospects played their best at the same time.
Coach Root’s season-long roasting of his team and plea for intensity was finally bearing fruit … until it all crumbled in the final minutes when the Cavaliers gave up a 13 point fourth quarter lead and most famously fell to Powers, 76-74, on Patrick Lucas-Perry’s put back at either the buzzer or as time expired depending on who you ask.
Video evidence clearly shows that there was no time remaining on the clock and the ball still in Lucas-Perry’s hands on the final play but referees made the call based on the sound of the buzzer as they credited Powers with the putback and the victory. It is a memorable topic of conversation and controversy and is primarily the reason I’m writing about this game today.
But beyond the final play, that game is a lingering reminder of how difficult it was for Carman-Ainsworth, and is for any team really, to escape their identity. Carman-Ainsworth was inconsistent all year and grossly underachieved in my opinion based on the talent that they had and the momentum they had built in seasons prior. Its coach critiqued their daily and in-game habits all season and the core players got better individually as the season progressed but they couldn’t escape who they were as a unit – an intimidating talent that stubbornly and consistently produced an underwhelming performance. I think many expected them to evolve into something resembling a state contender but were greeted with mediocrity and an early exit from the playoffs just a week after the tragic loss to Powers.
I look back at the final possession against Powers as the true ending of the Cavaliers season that year as they proved that they could put it all together and dominate (borderline embarrass) the best team in the area and one of the best in the state for a significant amount of time but weren’t interested in sustaining their aggression.
It’s impossible to say what would have happened if they had kept the lead and defeated Powers that night. I want to believe that it would have been the start of a deep playoff run but I also know they gave up a 17 point first half lead and two offensive rebounds before Lucas-Perry finally made the third shot attempt of the final possession which is probably more of a fitting end for a team whose potential was maddening while their play was consistently grounding.
Where are they now?
Here is a rundown of where a few players from that game have ended up.
Glenn Cosey, Carman-Ainsworth: After a standout JUCO career at Columbus State, Cosey committed to Division I Tennessee Tech for next season.
Demondre Chapman, Carman-Ainsworth: Chapman enters his junior season at Division I Prairie View A & M. He averaged 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in about 21 minutes per game as a sophomore while shooting 50 percent.
Jaylen Larry, Carman-Ainsworth: Larry, a talented big man with good touch around the basket who often struggled with his conditioning, played briefly at Rock Valley Community College in Illinois.
Courtland Patterson, Carman-Ainsworth: Despite a great high school career and good size and athleticism for a wing, Patterson, a notorious stat-sheet stuffer and lanky defender, didn’t play college basketball.