The deafening roar of the crowd turned to silence Friday as the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced away from the bucket.
In that moment, the packed house at Bethesda Academy in Savannah realized it happened again: First Presbyterian Christian Academy’s boys’ basketball team beat them on their home floor.
The Highlanders won, 56-54, which was the second time they have beaten Bethesda on their home court.
The Blazers and the Highlanders have clashed before, especially when they were in the same Georgia Independent School Association classification.
The Highlanders beat the Blazers three straight for the state title, but that was on neutral ground.
On Friday, the game was neck-in-neck when Highlander Herbert Roberts hit a layup to give his team a 55-54 lead with 23 seconds left. Moments later, Highlander Ahman Muhammad drew a foul and hit one from the free-throw line for a two-point lead with 3.3 seconds remaining.
“They lined up and tossed in a potential three-point shot for the win,” Highlander coach Ernie Walthour said. “But it bounced out.”
FPCA’s DeAngelo Streeter finished with 14 points and two rebounds. Roberts added 12 points and five rebounds, while Muhammad wrapped up the night with 10 points and 20 rebounds.
Walthour said it was a total team effort in a hostile environment.
Also for the Highlanders (2-0), Tevin Womack scored nine points, Richard Smith had seven points and five rebounds off the bench, and Chris Guilfo added five points and six assists.
With the win, the Highlander boys are off to a 2-0 start for their season.
The Highlanders return to action Jan. 12 at Greater Augusta Independent School.