VOORHEES TOWNSHIP — Aundrey Green left no doubt about what his acrobatic, body-bending, winning layup meant Friday afternoon.
“This means,” he said, “we’re going to the championship.”
Green’s layup at the overtime buzzer gave the fourth-seeded Millville High School boys basketball team a 61-60 upset over top-seeded Eastern Regional in a South Jersey Group IV semifinal (video of winning shot at HSLive.me).
Millville (23-6) will play for a S.J. title for what is believed to be the first time in 50 years when it meets Cherokee for the Group IV crown Monday.
“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” Millville coach Mike Jones said. “We hit not a crazy shot but a contorted shot.”
Green was mobbed by teammates and fans after the basket. Eastern missed two foul shots with five seconds left in overtime. Millville guard Rynell Lawrence grabbed the rebound of the second miss. He took a few dribbles and passed to Green on the left wing.
Green took two dribbles, bent around an Eastern defender and flipped up a right-handed layup.
“It was a little difficult,” Green said. “But I felt like if I went up with my left hand, they weren’t going to call the foul, and I was going to miss the shot. I just tried my right hand, and it went in. I didn’t know what to say.”
Millville put itself in position for the upset with a flawless second quarter. It was as well as the team had played all season.
The Thunderbolts began the quarter with a 9-0 run to take a 23-14 lead. Eddie Jamison scored 11 points and had two steals in the quarter. Millville outscored Eastern 22-7 in the period to take a 36-21 halftime lead.
“Defensively, we played really, really well,” Jones said of the quarter. “They couldn’t get in the flow. We closed out on their shooters. Offensively, we were able to get the ball to the basket.”
Eastern (21-8) rallied in the second half behind the shooting of Jack Winsett, who made six 3-pointers after halftime.
“They came out guns a-blazin’,” Jones said of Eastern in the second half.
Still, Millville should have won in regulation. The Thunderbolts led 57-52 with 1 minute, 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But Millville missed two foul shots and committed two turnovers in the final minute.
Eastern took advantage. Winsett banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 14 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
In overtime, it was Eastern that squandered a chance to win. The Vikings missed three foul shots in the final 38 seconds.
That set the stage for Green’s basket.
The Thunderbolts were a combination of ecstatic and shocked after the winner.
Jones said he believed Monday would be the program’s first appearance in a S.J. final since 1969.
“My thoughts aren’t real straight right now,” Jones said. “That was the most intense game we’ve played in a very long time.”
Millville 4 22 7 14 4 – 61
Eastern 14 7 19 17 3 – 60
MV – Lawrence 11, A. Green 15, Jamison 19, L. Green 2, Rhett 5, Etter 7
ET – Heck 7, Ems 19, Klinewski 16, Winsett 18, Lynch 0