No doubt, each message included a sincere ‘thank you’ for the effort the Hubs gave not only on Thursday night, but for the entire season, one in which the Hubs were not expected to achieve record-wise what they did.
And that record ended at 17-6 after a heart-stomping 81-72 loss in overtime to Einstein in a Maryland Class 3A West quarterfinal battle.
“These guys have given us the effort and everything they had all year and tonight was no different,” Hartman said.
Einstein’s 10-13 record entering the game was not overlooked. The Titans played a rigorous Montgomery County schedule and they came to town with a size advantage on the Hubs.
The Hubs were down by nine points (23-14) early, down by 12 points (52-40) with 2:54 left in the third period but then went on a 9-2 run to close the gap to 54-48 after three periods.
Even after 6-foot-3 point guard Josh Ogburn hit two free throws for a 60-55 lead with 2:48 left in the fourth quarter, North was still in a position to challenge for the win.
Kenny McCrary had a bucket and free throw for North to make it 60-58 and, after an Einstein turnover, the Hubs missed two shots, two free throws and had one turnover.
Ogburn scored on a drive in the lane for a 62-58 lead, and Teddy Schoeck then scored on his own rebound for North for a 62-60 deficit with 47.6 seconds left.
Einstein could have put a dent in the final, but 6-foot-6 junior wing man Joe Bradshaw missed two free throws for the Titans with 37 seconds left.
Max Ober missed the front end of a 1-and-1 for North with 29 seconds to play, but the Hubs cashed in on a turnover and Schoeck took a feed from McCrary to score on a layup for a 62-all tie with 6.9 seconds left.
After an exchange of baskets to start overtime, Einstein began to assert itself inside-outside once again.
Bradshaw hit a pair of 3-pointers and Ogburn had a natural three-point play and suddenly the Hubs were down 77-68 with 42 seconds remaining, the season about to come to an end.
Einstein coach Rich Porac Jr. was impressed with North not backing down to Einstein’s height and length.
“(Yacyk) asserted himself and they got tough on us defensively in the second quarter,” Porac said. “We stopped getting bullied around in the second half and we gave them some problems with our defensive pressure.”
North had only two turnovers in the first half, but ended with 16 while Einstein had 15.
“Even when we were behind we kept telling the kids, ‘We can play with them,’” Hartman said. “We had not played against a team with that size, but we had our own footing.”
Bradshaw finished with six 3-pointers and led all scorers with 32 points, well above his season average of 15.8. He hit 6 of 10 behind the arc and also had seven rebounds. The 225-pound Ogburn had 22 points along with eight rebounds.
“We’re coming along,” Porac said of his team, which started the season with a 4-11 record.