By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributing Writer
PARKVILLE — The Winston Churchill High School boys basketball team held a three-possession lead late in double-overtime, but Parkville’s John Godinez was simply determined not to lose.
In a Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) 4A quarterfinal at Parkville, Godinez finished with a game-high of 35 points (20 coming after the end of regulation) lifting Parkville to a phenomenal comeback 74-64 double-overtime win on Saturday evening.
Both teams brought physicality and intensity in a game that had arguably one of the wildest finishes this postseason. Churchill had its share of runs while the Knights had theirs. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they were not able to respond to Parkville’s late-game run.
The Knights ended the last minute and a half of overtime with a crowd-erupting 14-7 run, culminating with a bank shot 3 at the buzzer by Godinez.
In the second overtime period, the senior guard’s playmaking and clutch free-throw shooting helped Parkville outscore the Bulldogs 16-6 and secure the home win.
“The second overtime was tough because we thought we had the first one locked up, and they (Parkville) made the tough plays to force the second one,” Churchill head coach David Blumenthal said.
“Sometimes, that’s how it goes if you give the home team enough chances. Parkville was that home team, and they took advantage of it. And for us…it just kind of devastated us. We weren’t able to rally like we were going into the first overtime.”
Parkville trailed 5-0 at the beginning but responded with a 9-2 scoring run to lead 15-14 after the first. Then Churchill turned up the defensive intensity in the second and held its opponent to two field goals in the second while being paced by Jomo Goings on offense to take a 25-20 lead at the break.
The Knights jumped back on top in the third, completing a 10-point turnaround for a 38-33 advantage heading into the fourth. At the bottom of the quarter, Darrius Tilghman drove in for a baseline layup, and then Goings’ putback on the other end tied the score, 44-44.
With a chance to win at the end of regulation, Churchill forward Ike Onu-Chiedo missed a layup to bring the game to overtime.
Churchill’s blazing 7-0 overtime start earned them a 51-44 lead, and it appeared the Bulldogs had the game in the bag. Rather than yielding, Parkville applied a comeback strategy that worked in its favor.
Little by little, Parkville chipped away at the deficit and capitalized off Churchill’s missed free throws after quick fouls. Parkville was down 57-52, and Godinez pulled up for a 3-pointer to make it 57-55 with 3.2 seconds remaining in overtime.
On the other end, Goings sank 1-of-2 free throws to give the Bulldogs a 58-55 lead. With about 2.7 seconds on the clock, Jayden Baker received the inbound and passed the ball to Godinez, who shot a desperation three from the right wing as time expired.
The ball hit the backboard, then bounced on the front of the rim and fell through the net, sending the game to another overtime as students from the jam-packed Parkville gymnasium stormed the court.
The Knights opened the double-overtime frame by scoring 10 unanswered points in the first 2:30 for a comfortable 68-58 lead. Montez Dunbar’s four-point play made the crowd go wild and added to Parkville’s already built momentum.
Churchill could not get much offense going and Godinez remained consistent from the charity stripe to seal the win for Parkville (22-3).
Khalil Dukes anchored Parkville on the defensive end. Forward Jordan Strickland recorded 12 points and 18 boards for the Knights, who notched their fifth-straight win.
“Even early on before the season started, I had a feeling of how we were going to be as far as underdogs. We love being the underdogs,” said Parkville head coach Czerski, who leads hist team to College Park for his first time as head of the program.
“We have that resilience, and we have that heart. When we were making our team and going through tryouts, we put together guys that would fit with what we were trying to do – never backed down, never quit. That proved tonight.”
The heartbreaking loss ends Churchill’s season at 17-8 overall, wrapping the year up as 4A West regional champs. Goings led the way with 27 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, and Bryce Wilson poured in 12 points.
In the overtime periods, the Bulldogs missed a combined eight free throws. Onu-Chiedo chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds while Kaden Richardson netted 10 points. Despite the devastating loss, Churchill finishes the year as 4A West regional champions.
“We got a lot to be proud (of),” Blumenthal said.
“We were the first Churchill team ever to win the region, we won our division, we set a lot of goals, we accomplished a lot of things, and we have a lot to celebrate. So while this one is going to hurt for tonight and for the next few days…we’re going to celebrate because this year’s been magical.”