TRENTON, N.J. -- You could hardly blame Malcolm Grant for missing a free throw that would have sent the Eastern Invitational's Top 20 All-Star game into overtime.
After all, it was Grant (game MVP) who had pumped in 24 of his game high 26 points in the second half, bringing his Blue squad back from the dead and a 61-38 halftime deficit.
When Grant converted just one of two free throws with time expired, the White had hung on for a 104-103 victory.
A Villanova commitment bound for the Winchendon School in Massachusetts in the Fall, Grant helped Blue chip away at the deficit, canning six three pointers in the second half.
In the final minute, Grant and Bridgton Academy bound Rashad Green connected on back to back three-pointers, slicing the deficit to 104-102 with 36 seconds left.
Blue got the ball back and worked the ball to Grant, who was tightly covered in the left corner. He dribbled and pulled up for a shot, but was hacked by one of the White players as time expired.
He made the first free throw but missed the second, denying Blue of the improbable comeback.
Thanks to strong play from forward Ameer Ali (19 points) and wing Nick Murphy (15 points), the White jumped out to an early double digit lead.
Grant and teammate Paris Horne (15 points) were largely responsible for the Blue squad jumping back into the game -- Grant with his shooting, and Horne with his acrobatic, athletic drives.
Horne, a 6-2 shooting guard from Middletown H.S. in Middletown, Del., could be headed to Bridgton Academy in Maine next Fall.