Chapin held off a late charge by host Camden on Tuesday to escape with a 57-52 win in the Region 4-3A season finale and secure the region’s last available playoff spot.
The Eagles (12-12, 4-6) finished in a third-place tie with Dreher and will be the No. 3 seed thanks to a conference sweep of the Blue Devils. Camden, which failed in a last-ditch postseason bid for the second year in a row, closed the book on a 9-10 campaign.
“It was a good, competitive game in a pressure situation,” Chapin coach Mike Burge said. “We’ve been in quite a few close games that have gone down to the wire, so maybe that helped prepare us for what happened at the end tonight. We probably should have put it away earlier, but we got the job done in the biggest game of the year and that’s what matters.”
Fittingly, the win-or-go-home confrontation came down to the final seconds.
The Eagles broke a tie game with a 12-3 run that led to a 52-43 lead with 5:51 remaining, but they didn’t score another field goal until Tony Dargan’s breakaway dunk sealed the deal with four seconds to go.
Chapin had five turnovers down the stretch and went 3-for-6 at the free throw line to give the Bulldogs a chance.
Delton Bradford scored off the offensive glass with 25 seconds to go to pull Camden within 55-52. The Bulldogs forced a steal at the time line, but a 3-pointer from the right corner by Denzel Martin missed the mark.
Chapin won the scramble for the rebound, and Dargan’s jam was the final flourish.
“Beating Dreher (on Friday) gave us a huge shot in the arm, but it would have been for nothing if we didn’t win tonight,” Burge said.
Season scoring leaders Jake Lass, Tanner Springston and Dargan carried the load for the Eagles. Lass tallied 18 points, Springston scored 16 and Dargan finished with 13.
Chapin’s perimeter shooting was the difference. The Eagles went 20-for-41 (49 percent) from the field including nine 3-pointers — five by Springston.
“We had our opportunities, but they knocked down big shots and we didn’t,” Camden coach Ron McKie said. “That’s the story of our season. Once (Chapin) got the lead in the second half, we just couldn’t catch up. They shot it better, played defense a little better and handled the ball a little better than we did.”
Josh Council scored a game-high 19 points in his final game at Camden. Bradford and Josh Sumter, who will be the veterans next season, scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.