Sometimes reality is much sweeter than the dream.
Roman Catholic sophomore guard Lynn Greer III experienced just that Monday night at the Palestra after making the game-winning play that gave the Cahillites a 51-49 victory over Bonner-Prendergast for the Catholic League championship.
"I envisioned it," Greer III said behind a postgame sea of purple after delighting the capacity crowd to a thriller. "It's crazier than I imagined."
After a minute-plus worth of filibuster, Greer dribbled on the right side, three-point line extended, opposite the Roman bench, while hounded by Bonner-Prendergast's star junior, Isaiah Wong.
A Seth Lundy screen bought room for Greer, who dribbled left into the middle, driving the paint before a defender stepped up to greet him.
Fortunately for Roman, Hakim Hart cut to the basket into Greer's line of sight, caught the pass and finished the layup in one motion despite some contact with 1.1 seconds left on the clock.
"I saw a lot of opening in the middle," said Greer, who finished with 12 points. "I said that's where I'm gonna go. That's where I went and thank God Hakim cut to the basket."
There was a break in the action immediately after with some Roman players running onto the court. Security and at least one photographer also walked onto the floor.
After officials cleared the court, 1.6 seconds was put back on the clock.
The Friars' final effort, a long, full-court pass by Michael Perretta, was tipped by Lundy and landed in the hands of Louie Wild, who was huge for Roman in relief after both Lundy and John Kelly got into foul trouble.
When the final horn blared, Roman had won its third PCL title in the last four seasons.
Greer, who couldn't compete in last year's semifinal loss to Neumann-Goretti because of a knee injury suffered in warm-ups, was overcome by emotion while in the embrace of his father, Lynn Greer Jr.
"He stepped up big-time in the second half when we needed him," said Roman coach Matt Griffin. "I'm so proud of these guys. It's a resilient group with a lot of heart and character."
The Friars (21-4), the regular-season champions, led, 25-23, at halftime, but Roman's stingy defense forced 11 Friars turnovers in the second half and 16 for the game.
Wong led the Friars with 18 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field; he was 8 of 10 at the line. He also blocked three shots. Ajiri Johnson added 6 points and 14 rebounds, which helped the Friars outrebound Roman, 40-24.
The game also featured 10 ties and 10 lead changes.
The Cahillites (19-5) turned the ball over just eight times. Not bad for a team led by a sophomore point guard.
"I had a chip on my shoulder," Greer said. "Everyone doubted us. .. We just had to prove them wrong."
Roman Catholic 12 11 12 16-51
Bonner-Prendergast 11 14 12 12-49
RC: Lynn Greer 12, Allen Betrand 14, Seth Lundy 15, Hakim Hart 6, Louie Wild 4.