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Charlotte, NC – Despite playing in the game’s last seven minutes with a total of four fouls, York Prep junior DJ Burns still managed to score a team-high 24 points in a huge 65-63 road win over Providence Day (14-6).
York Prep (16-5) left the door open after making one of two free throws at the charity stripe with 3.8 seconds remaining in regulation. Providence Day head coach Brian Field motioned for a timeout, hoping for one last chance to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
Sophomore center John Miralia triggered the ball inbounds after the Providence Day timeout. Miralia held the ball for almost the full five seconds before finally launching a half court pass, finding the open arms of senior point guard Devon Dotson (Kansas signee).
Dotson took two dribbles towards the center of the three-point arc, and put up a good look with what could have been the game-winning shot as time expired. However, the dramatic ending for Providence Day was too good to be true. The last second attempt rimmed out, giving York Prep a hard fought victory against a talented Chargers basketball team.
For Frank Hamrick, the matchup with Providence Day marked just over one month since the York Prep head coach suffered a heart attack and missed four games while being hospitalized. When asked if the intensity of Friday’s game ever felt as if it was too much, Hamrick responded with all smiles.
“I’m going to tell you what. One time during the game I felt a little like I’m going to pass out. I hadn’t eaten lunch,” said Hamrick jokingly. “Honestly this (his heart attack) changes your perspective. I want to have as much fun during the game as I can and then when it’s over I want to go home and do the real work.”
Friday’s game provided Hamrick with several moments of big decisions. Providence Day senior Trey Wertz (Santa Clara signee) poured in four three-pointers in the first half of action, which included three successful attempts on consecutive trips down the floor for the Chargers.
Hamrick’s defense adjusted in the second half, getting out on the hot hand of Wertz while also shifting his zone towards the high post. This change seemed to bother the penetrating Dotson, as well as unsigned senior Isaac Suffren. However, no moment would prove to be quite as crucial as the decision to keep Burns in the game with four fouls, with just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
“What I’ve always tried to do is not foul my own players out,” said Hamrick. “Because sometimes, as a coach, [players] get that third or fourth foul and you yank them and you end up fouling them out because you don’t let them play.”
After trailing by as many as nine in the fourth quarter, York Prep got 10 points from Burns in the fourth quarter to propel the Patriots to victory. The 6-9 junior is a 4-star prospect according to 247 Sports with offers from Georgia Tech, LSU, Oklahoma State, South Carolina and Virginia among others.
The York Prep power forward got things going in the first half with an impressive face-up game and a smooth mid-range jumper. In the second half, Burns went to work on the block with an effective left-handed hook shot after spinning to the baseline. The junior could also be seen doing some pretty accurate Dirk Nowitzki impressions with several fade-away baskets off one-leg after receiving the ball in the post.
“I was really just taking what they [gave] me,” said Burns. “They were sending the double from the middle so the baseline was there and in the man-to-man I guess the guy didn’t know that I could shoot mid-range so he was leaving me open so I just took everything they gave me.”
York Prep also got a big outing from unsigned junior Dericko Williams who finished with 19 points. Williams was there to clean up many of the missed shots by the Patriots in the second half while also displaying his athleticism. Williams got his head at the height of the rim on one alley-oop dunk in the first half.
For Providence Day, Dotson finished with 24 points to lead the way for the Chargers. Dotson is continuing to be almost impossible to guard when he’s got a full head of steam driving towards the basket. Suffren and Wertz also turned in double-digit performances with 17 and 16 points respectively.
Both teams will return to action tomorrow as York Prep faces Spartanburg Day while Providence Day battles Christ School.