ELKTON — For the scenario Elkton found itself in, the Golden Elks had about as good a shot as they could have hoped for.
Trailing by three points with 2.7 seconds remaining, Elkton inbounded the ball underneath its own basket, needing to go the length of the court. The Elks executed the desperation play exactly as coach Charles Givens Sr. drew it up.
The inbound pass went to A.J. Moncrieffe near mid court. The senior forward quickly flipped the ball to Marques Battle.
Battle’s buzzer-beating try missed, securing a 69-66 Chesapeake Division win Tuesday night for visiting Havre de Grace.
The Elks trailed by as many as 14 points, 61-47, in the final quarter. The deficit followed a 3 by Warriors’ guard T.J. Turner.
Elkton responded with a 9-0 run to pull within five, 61-56, with a little more than two minutes remaining.
“I think we made fewer turnovers in the fourth quarter down the stretch than we did in any point of the game,” Givens said. “We made a few baskets that let us back in the ball game.”
The Warriors went ahead by nine points again in the closing minutes, setting up a furious Elkton rally that proved too little, too late. Battle started the last-ditch effort with a pair of free throws, followed a 3-pointer. Trevin Ewing made one of two free throws with six seconds to play to bring the score to its 69-66 final.
The teams battled to a three-point differential almost exactly a year earlier, too, as Havre de Grace’s Jai’erre Hoke hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Elkton scored the game’s first seven points on Tuesday and jumped out of an 11-2 lead just over three minutes in. But early foul trouble for Battle sent the Elks point guard to the bench and allowed the Warriors to close the quarter on an 18-9 run.
“He got two fouls early in the first quarter,” Givens said. “He pretty much controlled our offense and controlled the team. When you don’t have his leadership out on the floor, which we didn’t, they sort of got back into the game. We had to fight from there after.”
Havre de Grace outscored the Elks 23-11 in the second quarter to take a 41-31 lead into halftime. The Warriors knocked down four 3-pointers in the period, including one by Turner at the buzzer.
“We knew they were going to make 3s, we just couldn’t match their 3s or outside shooting because we don’t have outside shooting other than Marquise,” Givens said. “If you watched the game you would’ve seen, everybody else was either forcing shots or trying to go inside. He’s just a natural shooter. We didn’t have that.”
Battle led all scorers with 24 points. Moncrieffe scored 15 points, Ewing added 12 points and Kareem Howell had 10 for the Golden Elks (6-1 overall, 3-1 Susquehanna).
Marlon Lewis led the Warriors (7-1, 4-0) with 16 points, followed by 15 from Gary Gibson. Josiah Scott and Quinton Ware added 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Bohemia Manor 61, North Harford 46
Bel Air 62, North East 42
Fallston 60, Perryville 54
UCBAC Girls’ Basketball
Bohemia Manor 34, Rising Sun 33
Raegan Lenz led the Eagles with 12 points, five rebounds and five blocks. Hailee Fields recorded 10 points and four assists.
Sarah Clark and Katie Willis paced the Tigers with eight points apiece.
Havre de Grace 42, North East 30
Edgewood 58, Perryville 31
North East 45, Bohemia Manor 36
Edgewood 43, Perryville 31
Bel Air 51, Rising Sun 26
UCBAC Boys’ Basketball
Patterson Mill 65, North East 44
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig