ISA survives overtime duel 

Dominic Stewart stood in the middle of the gym and surveyed the second act of a celebration.

Moments earlier, his International Studies Academy boys’ basketball team thought it had outlasted Lowell in overtime and its fans had rushed the court, only to return nervously to their seats when the referees determined 2 seconds remained on the clock.

But when ISA denied the Cardinals a good shot and the final buzzer sounded in the Cobras’ 74-72 Academic Athletic Association victory, the party commenced in earnest.

"These types of games — the one- or two-point games or the ones that go into overtime — are the ones you love to play in," Stewart said. "You have to prove yourself and step up to the challenge."

And if Wednesday’s game was meant to serve as a barometer, a number of players from both teams certainly proved capable of answering the call under pressure.

Stewart (24 points, 12 rebounds) and twin brother Marseilles Stewart (32 points, 16 boards and five assists) combined for 56 points and 28 rebounds, including Marseilles’ tough layup in traffic with 35 seconds remaining in the extra period that proved to be the winning basket. The brothers combined to score all eight overtime points for ISA (5-7, 2-2 AAA) and consistently pounded the ball into the paint and finished tough shots around the basket.

"As a team, we really focused on going inside and not settling for jumpers," Marseilles Stewart said. "We’re bigger than them and we had to take it strong."

Lowell’s Travis Hom scored 26 points in what Cardinals coach Robert Ray called "the best game I’ve ever seen him play" before crawling off the court in overtime with leg cramps. The senior’s two free throws in the final minute of regulation tied the score 66-66 and forced the extra period.

Jordan Wong had 19 for Lowell (14-3, 3-1) and scored the Cardinals’ first 11 points of the game. Teammate Alex McNabb drilled a couple of huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including one from the right corner with 2:52 left in regulation that tied the game 60-60 as the Cardinals erased a 13-point second half deficit.

The game featured four ties and 12 lead changes, with the teams trading the advantage nine times in the first half alone. The Cobras led 33-27 at intermission and stretched it to 43-30 midway through the third quarter before the Cardinals battled back.

"If it’s possible for a loss to be good, this is a good one," Ray said. "We took about three or four steps tonight toward getting where we want to as a team."

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