Thriller puts Lyco men atop Commonwealth

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lycoming's Chris Wallace (24) looks to the basket around Albright’s Brandon Lindsay Wednesday at Lamade Gym.

There was no doubt in D’Yante Doughty’s mind that he was going to make both free throws against Albright to essentially seal the game. And quite frankly, there wasn’t much doubt from the Lycoming coaching staff or players either that he would make it.

Working on free throws after practice every day will help instill that type of confidence in a player when you’re on the line in a huge moment of a league game.

So after being fouled at mid-court by Albright, Doughty went onto the line and showed no signs of being nervous. The Lycoming freshman let go of both his shots and both were right on the money.

And more importantly, for the first time all game, it forced Albright to play from behind.

After holding a lead for all game, the Lions now had just three seconds to attempt a game-winning shot. But defensively, Lycoming didn’t make it easy and Albright had to force a hard shot at the buzzer that wasn’t close as Lycoming escaped with an 86-85 win on Wednesday evening in a Middle Atlantic Conference game leaders.

“I knew that my teammates and coach had confidence in me to make it because as soon as we called a timeout, (coach Guy Rancourt) said after I hit the free throws, already knowing I was going to hit it,” Doughty said. “So he gave me the mindset to really make it and I did.

“This was a big game and I knew how much everybody wanted it and I wanted it just as bad as they did.”

The Warriors (15-1, 6-1 MAC) had to battle back against the Lions (11-3, 4-2) all game and late in the second half were staring down a 14-point deficit when Albright’s Brandon Lindsay hit a 3-pointer with 4:40 to go to make it a78-64 deficit.

But as Guy Rancourt routinely tells his team: stick with the game plan.

Lycoming just kept playing its style of basketball and slowly but surely started erasing the deficit throughout the second half late. Lycoming cut it to single digits when Chris Wallace hit two free throws to trail, 78-69. And the Warriors kept at it and slowly got it to within two points with under a minute to play when T.J. Duckett banked a huge 3-pointer to trail, 82-80.

“Coach stresses stay with the game plan and that’s what we preached the whole second half: stay wtih the game plan. And it worked out,” Doughty said.

Rancourt knew Albright was an extremely solid team and knew that they wouldn’t be an easy opponent to defeat.

“I was proud of them. It’s a very talented team and Albright obviously battled. I wanted to see if we were going to learn from the Lebanon Valley experience and I thought they really stuck wtih it and stuck with the game plan and kept playing and playing until the end,” Rancourt said.

Wallace ended his night with a double-double, leading Lycoming in both points (20) and rebounds (10) before he fouled out late in the second half. Dougthy had a career-high 18 points and Darius James added 16 points from the bench. The Warriors also got 11 from Duckett and 10 from Alex Newbold, who came up two rebounds shy of also having a double-double.

“Any time you get a win in this conference, it’s really great,” Rancourt said. “This can be the difference between being at home or being on road at end of season. It’s really going to matter at the end of the year.”

“Huge. Extremely (huge win) because I love the rivalry evne though I’m a freshman, I love the rivalry they have,” Doughty said. “It just amps me up and makes me want to play harder.”

Albright did lead by double digits in the first half a handful of times, but Lycoming kept cutting it down back into single digits and stayed within striking distance.

Albright (11-3, 4-2 MAC)

Brandon Lindsay 5-12 7-8 20; Delascio Dancy 6-12 2-4 16; Jared Rappoport 3-6 0-0 6; Samuel Majekodunmi 5-7 4-4 15; Dejuan Smith 3-5 3-5 10; Jaylin Calloway 2-5 0-0 6; Fred Rowles 1-3 1-2 4; Sidney Brown 0-2 0-0 0; Garrett Oplinger 2-3 3-4 8. Totals 27-55 20-27 85.

Lycoming (16-1, 6-1 MAC)

Chris Wallace 6-14 8-11 20; Damani Myers 0-5 2-4 2; Ronald Jefferson 4-8 0-2 8; D’Yante Doughty 6-11 4-4 18; Alex Newbold 3-9 4-4 10; Darius James 5-10 6-7 16; Darius Dangerfield 0-4 0-0 0; TJ Duckett 3-7 2-2 11; Calvin Chandler 0-1 0- 0; Ramadan Jennings 0-1 1-2 1; Devon Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-70 27-36 86.

Halftime: Albright, 45-33. 3-point goals: Albright 11-28 (Lindsay 3-7, Dancy 2-6, Calloway 2-5, Oplinger 1-2, Smith 1-2, Majekodunmi 1-3, Brown 0-1), Lycoming 5-15 (Duckett 3-7, Doughty 2-4, Chandler 0-1, Myers 0-1, Dangerfield 0-2). Fouled out: Albright-none; Lycoming-Wallace. Rebounds: Albright 37 (Smith 9), Lycoming 39 (Wallace 10). Assists: Albright 20 (Dancy 6), Lycoming 7 (Wallace 3). Technical fouls: Lycoming-James; Albright-Rowles, TEAM. Total fouls: Albright 28, Lycoming 23. A: 385.