Fairfield Prep basketball coach Leo Redgate knows his team fought and battled in its third showdown against rival Hillhouse.
Redgate just wishes his team could have executed better offensively.
The second-seeded Jesuits led by four with 2:58 left, but top-seeded Hillhouse roared back to claim a 53-47 overtime win and the SCC championship on Tuesday in front of 1,649 at TD Bank Sports Center.
"We fought hard, we just didn't play well," Redgate said. "I'm not upset we lost the game. I'm upset how we lost the game. We didn't execute in the half court when we had opportunities."
Raiquan Clark scored a team-high 17 points, grabbing five rebounds and recording four steals off the bench, and Andre Anderson chipped in with 16 points as the Academics claimed their third conference crown in five years.
"I'm not as happy as I should be," Hillhouse coach Renard Sutton said. "But my senior leadership prevailed."
Thomas Nolan scored a game-high 19 points, 12 of which came after halftime. Paschal Chukwu had eight points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks, as the Jesuits fell to 21-2 -- their second loss to Hillhouse this year.
The Jesuits shot just 31 percent from the field, turning the ball over 26 times. Prep turned the ball over 12 times in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"We only have ourselves to look at for not executing in the half court," Redgate said. "That's my fault ... I'm disappointed in myself and the boys for not executing in the half court. We win the game if we do that."
Still, Nolan's fourth-quarter 3-pointer with 2:58 to play gave Prep a 39-35 advantage.
Hillhouse held Prep without a point through the end of regulation, and the Academics tied the score on Anderson's free throws with 1:00 left. The Jesuits had two chances to win in the waning seconds, but Clark blocked Nolan's jumper with five seconds left.
Prep regained possession after Clark traveled. Off the inbounds Chukwu lost the ball, Keith Pettway scooped it up, but his off-balance jumper was blocked by Chaise Daniels, and the teams went to overtime tied at 39.
"It was about digging in," Sutton said. "We just dug in down the stretch, and it worked out for us."
Hillhouse outscored Prep 14-8 in overtime, with Clark scoring five. The junior scored 15 points between the fourth quarter and OT -- gaining three of his four steals in overtime -- earning the tournament's most outstanding player award.
"I have a big heart, and the team did, too," Clark said. "We wanted to win."
"He's our all-everything guy," Sutton said of Clark. "He's an exceptional player."
Hillhouse took control from the start. The Academics closed the first quarter with a 7-0 run, capped by Shane Christie's dunk, and led 11-4 after one.
The Jesuits chipped away at Hillhouse's lead, cutting it to 19-15 at halftime. Prep opened the third with a 10-1 run -- eight of which came from Nolan -- building its largest lead, 25-20.
"(Nolan) doesn't really play like a sophomore," Redgate said.
The Academics answered with a 7-0 run, retaking the lead, 27-25. But Prep guard Ryan Murphy answered with a personal 7-0 run, lifting the Jesuits to a 32-27 lead with 6:01 in regulation.
FAIRFIELD PREP (21-2)
Chaise Daniels 0 2-2 2 Chris Leak Jr. 0 0-0 0 Andre Anderson 6 5-11 16 Bobby Bynum Jr. 4 3-4 10 Shane Christie 4 0-0 8 Raiquan Clark 5 7-9 17 Quain Sturges 0 0-0 0 Corey Staggers 0 0-0 0 Marcus Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 17-26 53.
FAIRFIELD PREP 4 11 9 13 8--47
HILLHOUSE 11 8 8 12 14--53
3-pointers: FP--Nolan 3; H--Anderson, Bynum.