For nearly three hours, St. Petersburg High boys basketball players took themselves to the limit. They staggered. They wilted.
But they continued to play Tuesday night at Fort Myers until it was no longer a Class 6A region semifinal but a test of will.
Whenever a critical shot was needed, the Green Devils seemed to deliver. Junior Mari Sherrod knocked down a buzzer-beater in regulation to send the game into overtime. Senior Deon Earley hit a last-second one, too. So did junior Ray Perry IV and freshman Hayden McCain.
They came in overtime after overtime to keep the marathon game going.
The only shot that did not go in was the final one. Freshman Quez Curry released the ball as the seconds ticked away. The shot started to go in before bouncing out of the rim.
St. Petersburg lost 110-108 in five overtimes. Yes. Five overtimes.
“As you can expect, fatigue started becoming a factor,” Green Devils coach Chris Blackwell said.
Three starters fouled out. In the final three overtimes, St. Petersburg had three freshmen on the court. Those youngsters kept the Green Devils in contention until the end.
Perry IV was the lone veteran who played the entire game.
“Ray gave everything he had,” Blackwell said. “So did everyone else. No matter the outcome, this is a game that none of us will ever forget.”