By Phil Anastasia
For the third game in a row, Williamstown held the lead in the fourth quarter.
For the third game in a row, the Braves watched it slip away.
But things turned around in a stunning sequence in the final five seconds of Saturday's basketball game between Williamstown and host Cherry Hill East in the Virginia B. Whitaker Tournament.
On-Nir Kendall made a steal, T.J. Booth came up with the loose ball and Kali Boyce converted an outlet pass into the game-winning layup as the buzzer sounded in a 36-34 victory for Williamstown.
"We came in focusing on changing our identity from a team that squanders games in the fourth quarter to a team that takes one back," Williamstown coach Jim Ambrosious said.
Boyce scored nine and Kendall collected eight points, six rebounds and three steals for Williamstown (2-3).
Andrew Brown generated 17 points and nine rebounds for Cherry Hill East (2-2).
"At the end of the game, we're just too quick, in too much of a rush to get things done," Cherry Hill East coach Dave Allen said. "It's the third time in our four games that we've been that way."
Neither team could create much offensive continuity. Williamstown had a 24-14 lead early in the third quarter, but Cherry Hill East rallied behind Brown and sophomore guard Jake Silpe (five points, five assists, three steals) to pull within 31-30 entering the fourth.
With the score tied at 34, Cherry Hill East worked near two minutes off the clock, took a pair of timeouts and prepared to take the last shot.
It was set-up for another setback for Williamstown, which had squandered fourth-quarter leads in losses to Shawnee and Delsea earlier in the week.
"It's been frustrating," Boyce said. "We've lost a lot of close ones."
But things changed in a flurry. Kendall stripped the ball loose and Booth took possession with about five seconds to play.
"I saw Kali breaking and I knew I had to get it to him," Booth said.
Boyce took the pass just inside halfcourt. He took two dribbles and released the ball a split-second before the buzzer.
"I looked back and saw it bouncing on the rim," Boyce said. "When it fell through, it was a relief. We needed this one."
Williamstown 7 14 10 5 -- 36
Cherry Hill East 8 9 16 4 -- 34
W: Kali Boyce 9, Aaron Rose 2, Terence Jackson 2, T.J. Booth 6, On-Nir Kendall 8, San Waddell 6, Isiah Perkins 3.
CHE: Jake Silpe 5, Austin Wetzler 3, Andrew Brown 17, Gary Hettinger 3, Andrew Soll 6.
Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.