This is why you don't leave a basketball game in the third quarter.
Last night, when Washington Township opened the second half on a 9-3 run and swelled its lead to 15 points over Pennsauken midway through the third quarter, the game appeared to be over.
The Indians looked flat. They looked cold, and looked anything but ready for the 51-49 comeback victory they were about to pull out.
Two quick shots by Takwail Bailey changed all that. The Pennsauken guard drilled a three-pointer, intercepted the ensuing inbounds pass, and converted the easy layup, making the deficit 37-28 late in the third quarter.
From that point on, the momentum, the tempo, and the game belonged to Pennsauken.
"All the credit for this win goes to the kids," Pennsauken coach Cetshwayo Byrd said. "They played their hearts out. We were down in the third, and teams I've had in the past might have folded right there. But they didn't. They fought, they fought, they fought, and they came out on top."
Pennsauken battled to within three points by the end of the third quarter.
With just under six minutes left in the game, Bailey, who ended with 13 points, came through again, coming up with another steal, converting the layup, and giving his team its first lead of the night at 43-42.
"I really didn't do much in the first quarter," Bailey said. "But I knew I had to come out in the second half with some heart and step it up."
The teams traded leads for the rest of the final quarter until Bailey drilled an eight-foot jumper with 34 seconds left to put his team up for good.
"I had to be a leader," Bailey said. "I knew I had to step up at some point in my life, and that was it."
The second half was in stark contrast to a first controlled by Washington Township, particularly guard Adam Marcucci and center Matt Lopez. The two combined for 25 of Township's 28 first-half points, and the Minutemen went into intermission up by eight.
Pennsauken 8 12 18 13 - 51
Washington Township 14 14 13 8 - 49
P: Simmons 16, Jones 15, Bailey 13, Small 7.