With Tuesday night's game between Brien McMahon and Fairfield Warde winding down to the final seconds and tied at 56 all, everyone on the McMahon bench knew who was going to get the ball. TJ McCrae calmly dribbled down the court, spun off his defender, executed a perfect pull-up jump shot, and hit nothing but net with two seconds to play. The jumper sealed a scintillating 58-56 victory for the Senators.
"All I was thinking was, just make the shot, McCrae said. "I wanted the ball really bad and I was going to make sure it happened. Everyone had to step up and do their part tonight. When the game is real close, everyone gets focused and gets busy. We trust in everybody on this team."
McMahon saw three second-half leads disappear, but the boys buckled down when they needed to. Both teams used an aggressive full-court press that led to a flurry of fouls. Both Warde and McMahon were in the free-throw bonus for the entire fourth quarter.
The thrilling second half made up for an ugly first half in which neither team executed. Warde led 7-6 after a paltry first quarter, and 26-24 at the half.
"Nobody on the bench wanted to take a bet against TJ putting the game away because they all knew he would," McMahon head coach Mo Tomlin said. "I have the luxury as a coach that in any given game we have different weapons that will step up to get that extra point. My oldest saying to these guys is, I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day.
With team leader Takari Smalls home with an illness, the McMahon bench stepped up with eight different players getting onto the score sheet. Tyler Schular led all players with a game-high 23 points, including a red-hot 12-point third quarter. Schular got into foul trouble and was forced to sit most of the fourth quarter, preventing an even bigger scoring night. Chris Daniel helped with six points while Antonio Harris was the leading scorer off the bench with five.
McMahon now stands at 9-3 overall and 7-3 in FCIAC play. The Senators continue their five-game homestand when they host Trumbull on Friday.
With a playoff spot already wrapped up, how far do you think McMahon can go come the postseason? Start the discussion below.
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