LEWES, Del. -- Adrian Joseph caught an alley-oop pass at the buzzer from guard James Ianuzzi to lift Bergen Catholic H.S. of Oradell, N.J., to a 58-57 victory over Starkville H.S. of Mississippi on Sunday night at the Slam Dunk to the Beach.
After Travis Outlaw hit a three pointer and a pair of free throws in the final :20 to give Starkville a 57-56 lead with under 10 seconds to play, the Crusaders inbounded the ball to Ianuzzi, who appeared to be ready to hoist the potential game winner with the clock approaching zero.
But Ianuzzi rifled a pass to Joseph, who along with Sean Banks was told to stalk the baseline for an easy second chance shot. The plan worked, as Joseph's dunk sent the Crusaders into Monday's 7 p.m. National Power Series Final against Miami Christian.
Starkville, which was led by Outlaw's 26 points and nine rebounds, fell behind 21-9 in the first quarter and looked like it was going to get run off the floor. But a strong 23-9 second quarter surge gave the Yellowjackets a 32-30 lead at the intermission.
Bergen Catholic took a 43-38 lead after a Miles Orman shot off the glass late in the third quarter. The period should have ended with that score, but Starkville was awarded two "phantom" points to make it 43-40 after three quarters.
Apparently, there was some sort of discrepancy between the scoreboard and the score book, but not one observer who kept score could account for the extra two points given to Starkville.
Had not Joseph scored at the buzzer to win the game for B.C., the two points could have swayed the outcome of the contest.
Thanks in large part to a big first quarter output, Memphis bound Sean Banks of Bergen Catholic led the Crusaders with 22 points and seven rebounds. Joseph added 12 points and 10 rebounds while Orman chipped in 10 points and seven boards as B.C. enjoyed a 36-30 advantage on the glass.
In addition to Outlaw, Jaruis Hill was the only Starkville player to hit for double figures with 17 points.
Starkville will face Hopkins H.S. of Minnesota on Monday morning in a Power Series Consolation tilt.