After Friday night's basketball game, 200 Pinckney students stormed the court screaming, arms flailing, rushing to grab their classmates.
The fanatic fans had reason to be ecstatic. They had just witnessed something that doesn’t happen often — a loss by the Brighton boys basketball team.
The Pirates defeated the Bulldogs, 67-64, in double overtime for the KLAA Lakes Conference Title and a chance to win the KLAA next week against Novi.
The Bulldogs have only suffered defeat twice all season, both at the hands of Pinckney.
Brighton (17-2) kicked off the second overtime with a Benjamin Kil 3-pointer just 30 seconds into play, giving his team a 64-61 lead.
“I wanted to go back on defense and play my butt off,” Kil said. “Once you make a big shot that doesn’t mean the games over. You still have to make plays in different ways.”
However, those were the only points they could muster. Pinckney's JP Calder scored his eighth bucket in the paint and put the Pirates up 65-64 with 15 seconds left.
The Bulldogs had a few more chances though. On the ensuing inbound pass, after the Calder score, Brighton junior guard Shane Dokey got tied up with Dominic Bona and fell. The ball went out of bounds in Pinckney’s favor.
“We had a play drawn up that we were trying to get the ball to the middle of the court,” Brighton head coach Tony Sweet said. “We just practiced it the other day. I thought sure enough we’ll get into a situation where we’ll need it. When the ball went out we were put in a situation where we had to foul.”
Kil had an opportunity to send the game to a third overtime but his running three with time running out fell short.
“They made one more play than we did, in double overtime,” Sweet added. “Our guys fought, scraped and clawed. Each time that we were put in a position to get a shot to tie it or win it we didn’t ... It was a whale of a high school basketball game.”
Brighton had a shot go wide at the end of regulation and another blocked at the end of the first overtime.
Pinckney started hot, jumping out to an early 9-0 lead, with the help of an exceptional showing by Calder.
Calder, a senior, scored the first seven points for the Pirates and finished the contest with 21. He made 9 of his 11 shot attempts and 3 of 5 free throws.
“We tried to front him, when Nick got in foul trouble that hurt us. He was really tough inside. He really hurt us,” Sweet said. “I think between Nick (Schroeder) and Jeff (Dunatchik) we had nine fouls against him. He’s a good player. He knows how to use his body inside.”
Kil and Schroeder led Brighton with 22 points each. Schroeder scored seven straight points to knot the game at 13 all in the first quarter to help the Bulldogs rally back and take a one point lead going into the first break. He added 10 rebounds to his already stellar night; although, fouled out after having four fouls in the second half.
“Nobody was really stepping up on offense,” Schroeder said. “I was just trying to give our team a spark. I got some open looks and hit some shots.”
Brighton came out firing on all cylinders after halftime and amounted a 14-6 run to help them re-gain the lead. But Pinckney answered back in the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 58, sending the game to overtime.
There were 11 lead changes in the back-and-fourth contest.
“The guys are discouraged. They fought hard,” Sweet said of his team. “You learn a lot from winning and a lot from losing. We’ll take away that we didn’t give up and we kept fighting.”
The Bulldogs decided to go retro during their ‘orange out.’ They wore the BHS's old school all-orange uniforms.
“Those are the throwbacks. We wanted to wear them tonight,” Schroeder added. “That’s the first time I’ve worn them and I’ve been on varsity for three years.”
Brighton will look to rebound from the tough loss when they take on Livonia Stevenson next Thursday.