Ellington, Episcopal Fall in Semis

CHARLOTTE --- Episcopal Academy is privileged to have two of the best wings in the nation in Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson. And, understandably, the team relies on the ACC-bound duo for the majority of its offense. So when Ellington and Henderson combined for 13-for-38 shooting Friday night, Episcopal was unable to advance to the Dell Curry Shootout title game.

"If we don't get the scoring from them, we're in big, big trouble as you can see," Episcopal head coach Dan Dougherty said after his team's 59-55 loss to Our Savior (N.Y.) at the Charlotte Latin gym.

Ellington totaled 20 points on the evening, shooting 7-of-19 from the field (3-7 3pt, 3-8 FT) and grabbed eight rebounds.

With Ellington and Henderson misfiring, and Episcopal's two small guards badly overmatched, they trailed for most of the first three quarters and were down 46-35 with just over a minute left in the third quarter when a single play seemingly turned the game around.

On a fast break, Henderson was falling out of bounds underneath the hoop while trying to haul in a pass when a New Savior guard shoved him in the back, sending him careening into a cameraman and then the wall – a flagrant foul was called.

"If that doesn't spark you, then you're playing the wrong [game]," Dougherty said.

The following possession, Henderson was fouled on a dunk attempt and the New Savior center was T'ed up for taunting. The possession after that, Henderson was fouled out on the perimeter and went to the line. In total, Henderon hit eight consecutive free throws in the final minute of the third quarter for a 8-0 run and a 46-43 deficit heading into the fourth.

Coming out of the break, Ellington drilled a three-pointer from the left baseline and after a teammate's basket on the next possession, Episcopal led 48-46 on 13 unanswered points.

"We did [get pumped up by that flagrant foul] and that's when we came back and took the lead," Ellington said.

But the same problems that plagued Episcopal throughout the game continued. While their backcourt teammates struggled in transition defense, Ellington and Henderson missed shots they normally make.

"I think we got the shots we wanted," Dougherty. "The shots didn't go down.

"We're talking two more of those [20 combined misses from Ellington and Henderson] going down and we're walking out of here with a win."

Ellington also credited New Savior's defense.

"I had some good looks that weren't falling, but they had a lot of pressure on me with my man face guarding me," he said.

The postgame mood was expectedly solemn for a team so used to winning.

"They hate to lose," Dougherty said of his star tandem, who are now 9-3 on the season. "This is as many losses as we had last year with 25 wins. Ellington and Henderson just hate to come away with the 'L.' And I think that's part of what makes them so special."

Episcopal concludes its tournament play in Charlotte with the third-place game on Saturday at 3 p.m.

"I'm not used to losing, but we'll bounce back," Ellington said. "We'll dwell on it a bit tonight, talk about what went wrong and then move on."

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