As Evans High School forward Anthony Williams left the floor after the Knights' loss to Cross Creek on Friday, the senior had a promise.
"We're going to be all right," he said.
Evans boys started the season as the area's hottest team, winning 16 of its first 17 games and earning a top-10 ranking in the state. The Knights have dropped four of six since then, including Friday's 53-52 loss to the Razorbacks.
But Williams vowed the Knights would be back to their early season form.
Evans' recent setbacks have all been close. Its two most recent losses came by a combined three points.
Cross Creek avenged last month's one-point loss to the Knights, overcoming a 15-point first-half deficit Friday.
With 1:16 left, Evans had possession with the game tied. The Knights held the ball and called time out with 11.1 seconds to draw up a play.
Evans coach Kevin Kenny wanted to get the ball to Williams off a screen. But the Knights were stifled in the backcourt, and Cross Creek guard Jahmad Saleem broke free with the ball and was fouled on his layup attempt. His first free throw was good.
Saleem finished with a game-high 13 points and teammate Santoine Butler added 10.
"As long as both of them are clicking, the team is fine," Cross Creek coach Kelvin Ruffin said.
Kenny said he told his team to hold the ball for an open look during the final minute. When there was no opening, he called timeout to try to create one.
Evans forward Troy Griffith said the Knights had worked on their inbounds plays for more than an hour during a practice this week. But it broke down when they were faced with the Musketeers' man-to-man pressure.
"I couldn't get the ball," Williams said. "It was bad game."
The win was the Razorbacks' fifth in a row and further clogged the standings behind regular-season region champion Richmond Academy. The Razorbacks beat the Musketeers on Feb. 3, another game decided in the final minute.
"We prepare for games like this," said Ruffin, who was filling in for head coach Tracey Gamble.
The Knights closed their regular season schedule Tuesday at Richmond Academy. The game had no bearing on the 3-AAAA region tournament, which starts Feb. 16.
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