WEST VALLEY CITY — For the second night in a row, Team Fredette faced a double-digit deficit in The Basketball Tournament’s Salt Lake City regional.
Unlike the previous 24 hours, the magic ran out Friday night at the Maverik Center.
Marvelle Harris had 22 points and nine rebounds as Team Challenge ALS eliminated Team Fredette, 83-80 in the second round of the TBT’s inaugural regional in Utah.
Tu Holloway scored 16 of his team-high 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead Team Fredette, who led Challenge ALS, 80-78 in the Elam Ending with a target score of 82. Jordon Crawford added 11 points, five rebounds and six assists, and teammate Devonta Pollard supplied 13 points for Team Fredette.
But Deshawn Stephens played the hero, slamming home a thunderous dunk as Challenge ALS ended the game with a 5-0 spurt to lift the No. 2 seed into the regional final Saturday night.
After trailing by as much as 11 in the first quarter, Team Fredette rallied and was behind just 74-72 heading into the Elam Ending, when Holloway continued his fourth-quarter dominance. The 6-foot wing, who played last year in Turkey, scored eight-straight points to lift Team Fredette to within a possession of the win, 80-78 with a 3-pointer.
But that was as close as they would get, thanks to a foul charged to Jeff Ledbetter on the penultimate possession, when Harris made 2-of-3 free throws to set up Stephens’ demonstrative gamewinner.
Jimmer Fredette, the team’s namesake who captained the squad to last year’s TBT national semifinals and was on the bench as an assistant coach in their 99-96 win in the first round, did not coach Friday night.
In his stead were former BYU coach Dave Rose, Wasatch Academy assistant Paul Peterson, and Fredette’s brother T.J. Fredette.
Team Challenge ALS advanced to face regional top-seed Eberlein Drive at 7 p.m. MDT Saturday in the Maverik Center.
Eberlein Drive 86, LA Cheaters 84
For the second-straight game, Eberlein Drive started the game in neutral.
But for the second-straight game, the reigning TBT runners-up shifted gears when it mattered most.
Jerome Randle scored a game-high 26 points — including the game-winner — to go along with four rebounds and four assists in leading Eberlein Drive to an 86-84 win over the L.A. Cheaters in a semifinal of the Salt Lake City regional Friday at the Maverik Center.
Former NBA veteran Donald Sloan added 15 points and six rebounds for Eberlein Drive, which is four wins away from the $2 million winner-take-all grand prize.
“We’ve just got to play with intensity a little bit better,” Randle said. “I’m disappointed. I’m upset with our team. I know we’re better than that.
“We had what it takes down the stretch to win the game. But that’s the second game in a row (of starting slow), and we’re better than that.”
Will Davis II led LA Cheaters with 27 points and nine rebounds, and former Utah guard Sedrick Barefield supplied 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Elijah Stewart scored 24 points for the Cheaters.
Much like in their near-upset at the hands of Team Utah, Eberlein Drive started the game slow. The Cheaters led by as much as 11-3 early in the first quarter, and though Eberlein cut the deficit as low as 22-20 on Keith Benson’s layup ahead of the final minute, Ervin Ware capped LA’s 7-0 run to end the quarter up, 27-20.
Eberlein retook the lead, 36-33 on Stewart’s triple with 3:57 left in the half. But the Cheaters responded with a 7-0 run to regain the lead and finished the half up, 48-44.
Eberlein Drive took the lead for good on Osiris Eldridge’s 3-pointer midway through the third quarter and never trailed again.
The Cheaters tied the game at 84-84 on a pair of free throws by Stewart. But Randle finished off the game with a smooth drive to the rim on the next possession to clinch Eberlein Drive’s appearance in the regional final for the second-straight year.