York, PA -
Zach Stroup had immediate regrets.
After he released his shot from the top of the key in double overtime, doubts crashed around in his head.
"It was deep," Stroup said. "There was a lot of time left (22 seconds). We were only down by two points.
"I'm thinking, 'Why'd I take that shot? If this doesn't go in, it's going to be bad.'"
All of that went through his mind as his long-range shot arced through the air.
But afterward, Stroup could smile.
Any repercussions of a missed 3-pointer faded when the shot dropped through the net, turning what had been a last-minute deficit into an unlikely comeback victory. Neil Murren hit a par of free throws with 5.6 seconds to play to pad the lead, and Susquehannock's 3-point attempt at the buzzer hit the rim and bounced out to give Bermudian Springs a 49-46 double-overtime victory.
"Zach's a senior, he's a smart player and he stepped up and made a tough shot," Bermudian Springs coach Tom Flaherty said.
In a matchup of two of the top teams in Division III, Bermudian's victory included a fourth quarter that included three ties and four lead changes. Bermudian (14-3, 9-2 D) trailed Susquehannock (13-5, 8-3) by as many as eight points in the third quarter, but Brandon Markle banked in a half-court buzzer-beater at the end of the third to pull the Eagles within two points.
"That was a dagger," Susquehannock coach John Zerfing said. "That really hurt us. That three points came back to really haunt us. Then they hit some big shots when they needed them."
Bermudian continued its run in the fourth quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers (one from Stroup and one from Ryan Markle) against Susquehannock's zone defense. Flaherty pointed out that his guards had open looks in large part because post players -- such as Silas Murren (eight points) -- had success inside but opted to kick the ball outside when they ran into a crowd in the paint.
Bermudian's second-half surge erased what had been a near flawless run by Susquehannock in the first half. The Warriors opened the game on a 9-1 run, pushed by the streaking shooting of Tyler Brooks, who knocked down a game-high 21 points, scoring 19 in the first half. He converted 7-of-9 shots from the floor in the first half, and he accounted for all but six of his team's 25 points in the opening half.
He would score one bucket in the second half.
"I kept trying, kept trying, but I just couldn't hit it," Brooks said.
Bermudian cut down on his open looks, forcing him to take off-balance shots if he wanted a shot in the second half.
"They just really manned up on him and made it difficult for him to get any open looks," Zerfing said. "That's a really good defensive half-court team."
Susquehannock's Dan Ferraro scored 13 points, but his biggest play of the night didn't count. Officials whistled him for a charge in the second overtime on a play he -- and Susquehannock's student section -- initially thought would send him to the line. Instead of the potential for a three-point play, and possibly a three-point lead, Bermudian took possession.
Silas Murren hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 44 with 1:12 to play in the second overtime. Ferraro came down to hit a bucket in the paint with 46 seconds to go to push Susquehannock back on top, but that set the stage for Stroup and his open look from the top of the key with 22 seconds to play.
"I just caught, saw I was open and let if fly," Stroup said.
BERMUDIAN SPRINGS (49)
Huntington 0 0-0 0, R. Markle 1 0-0 3, Neil Murren 3 4-5 11, Orwig 1 2-3 4, S. Murren 3 3-5 9, J. Stroup 0 0-0 0, Zach Stroup 6 0-0 15, B. Markle 1 0-0 3, Hartzell 1 2-7 4. Totals16 11-20 49.
Hatcher 0 0-0 0, Tanurra 0 0-0 0, Kerr 0 0-0 0, Tyler Brooks 8 2-3 21, Dan Ferraro 6 0-0 13, Frey 3 2-2 8, McClee 2 0-0 4. Totals19 4-5 46.
Bermudian 5 12 12 11 2 7 -- 49
Susquehannock 11 14 6 9 2 4 -- 46
3-point goals -- Bermudian 6 (Z. Stroup 3, R. Markle, N. Murren, B. Markle); Susquehannock 4 (Brooks 3, Ferraro).
JV score -- Bermudian, 41-34.