Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports Columnists

March 14, 2014

Dennis Chase: March providing lots of memories for Red Devils

Darrin Weber barely had a voice left Thursday.

That’s what happens when you play four basketball games in eight days, win three on the last possession, two in overtime.

“Throat’s a little sore right now,” said the East Jordan coach, a day after the Red Devils won their first regional title in 61 years with a pulsating 55-53 overtime decision over Beaverton at St. Francis High School.

Actually, Weber picked a good time not to talk Wednesday night. After Beaverton missed a shot in the closing seconds of overtime, East Jordan rebounded and started to push the ball up court.

“I thought, do I call time out or do I let them go?” Weber recalled.

In a split-second he decided to let it play out.

“If I called time, it would give (Beaverton) a chance to set its defense,” Weber said. “I thought we would be better in transition in trying to get a shot.”

Of course, it helped that the ball was in the hands of senior guard Noah Bacchus, who a week earlier beat Charlevoix in overtime with a last-second shot. Bacchus had the hot hand so Weber knew the situation was right. His only worry was the clock as his court leader was streaking up court with the ball.

‘I kept looking at the clock and thinking, ‘You better shoot it soon or you’re not going to get it off,’” he said. “When he shot it I leaned a little to my left and I thought, ‘That has a chance.’”

When it went in, the East Jordan faithful erupted. Tom Hardy, the St. Francis athletic director, was already en route to the scoring table to get the trophy.

“As soon as he (Bacchus) shot the ball, you could tell,” Hardy said.

It was a night that personified what March Madness is all about — an electric atmosphere with more than 1,500 cheering fans treated to a close, entertaining, memorable game.

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