The slogan across your shirt can help you get there. When it comes to winning time, however, that thing in your chest must do the rest.
Friday night, the tickers inside host McDevitt thumped loudest when needed the most, helping the Lancers take down Archbishop Wood, 52-49, on the game’s final play, while also earning the school’s first trip to the Catholic League semifinals at the Palestra since 1989.
Minutes before the game began, second-year McDevitt coach Will Chavis was asked if he believed his team was ready for the raucous environment.
A smile slowly worked its way across his lips just before he said, “Oh, we’re ready.”
Seconds after his team doused him with water in the Lancers’ celebratory locker room, Chavis was asked when he knew.
“Honestly, I didn’t realize it until the last play,” he said, laughing.
“The last play, they came in the huddle and I said, ‘it just comes down to heart,’” he continued, pounding his chest.
“I saw it in their eyes. We wanted this game. There’s nothing I can do. There’s nothing I can say. It just comes down to getting one stop. And they got it.”
When Julius Phillips’ desperation three-point heave went awry, the Lancers’ student section, which was boisterous throughout, stormed the court, engulfing the already ecstatic players.
“I know it’s a dream come true for those kids,” Chavis said. After a prolonged exhale, he added: “They fought hard for that. All the credit to those kids, man. They fought hard.”
Juniors Robert Smith and Jamil Manigo led the Lancers, who will face La Salle in the Catholic League semifinals Wednesday at the Palestra.
Smith finished with 19 points and three steals on 6-of-11 shooting from the field. Manigo added 10 points and eight rebounds. Cameron Gardner (seven points) and Shamir Mosley (five points) added scoring and energy off the bench.
Wood was led by Jaylen Stinson, who finished with 16 points. Phillips added 14 points, and Daeshon Shepherd scored 11.
The Lancers (18-5, 12-3) were shaken but not not stirred in the fourth when the Vikings (15-8, 9-6) whittled a 9-point deficit down to just two.
Doubt, however, never crept into the minds of the Lancers, Chavis said. Perhaps that’s because he bought T-shirts that said “Doubted” across the chest and surprised his players with them before pregame warmups.
“They embraced it,” he said.
The shirts were inspired by McDevitt sophomore Mike Wells, who started his own clothing line. Its name: “Doubted.”
McDevitt 12 17 16 7 52
Archbishop Wood 16 10 10 13 49
M: Robert Smith 19, Jamil Manigo 10, Cameron Gardner 7, Shamir Mosley 5, Seneca Willoughby 4, Glenn Smith 5, Ahmir Harris 2.