It’s was a dream season for the Saint Philip Fighting Tigers’ boys’ varsity basketball team.

They captured a district title and a region championship during the past two weeks and advanced to the Class D “Elite Eight”. However, the journey to the Breslin Center and the Final Four came to an end with a 56 – 51 overtime loss at the hands of the Cougars of Adrian Lenawee Christian High School Tuesday night at Battle Creek Central High School.

Lenawee Christian started off with a 6-0 run in the first period before St. Philip finally found the basket. The Fighting Tigers continued to press the Cougars’ defense and closed the point gap to one (11-10) by the end of the first period. The two teams’ scoring stayed even through the second period as the Cougars took a 24-22 lead into the locker room at the half.

The Fighting Tigers and Cougars battled hard during the second half to send the game into overtime with the score tied at 42 apiece. However the difference came in OT as St. Philip was out-scored 14-9. With the win, Lenawee earns a trip to the Final Four on Thursday night to face the Trojans of Cedarville.

The Cougars shot 56 percent from the field, compared to the Fighting Tigers’ 34 percent. St. Phil’s usually strong three-point shooting attack was kept in check by Lenawee’s defense, hitting only five of 20 attempts.

Lenawee had four players scoring in double-digits: Kingsley with 20-points and 13-rebounds; Brad Harrah with 16-points and four rebounds; Grant Holbein, 10-points and four rebounds and Maxwell with 10-points and eight rebounds. Leading Saint Phil’s scoring attack was Tyler Hubbard-Neil with 10-points and 11 rebounds, followed by Alex Doyle with nine-points and eight rebounds and Hunter Haley scored 8-points.

Tuesday night was Saint Philip’s first State quarter final appearance since 1984 when they lost to Lansing Christian. Their last Final Four appearance was in 1973 when they lost to Detroit East Catholic High. The Fighting Tigers finish the 2013-14 season with a 24-2 record.

(Photos and story by Art Frith)