It wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that East started to play to its full potential. O’Bryan was whistled for a technical at the 4:08 mark of the period; from there, East went on a 12-7 run. A string of baskets by Thomas, Boyd and Collins brought East within 58-46 with 30 seconds remaining in the period.
The strong last four minutes of the third had East in the game heading into the fourth quarter, 60-48.
“They just decided two or three minutes into that third quarter that they were going to get after it,” O’Bryan said.
Michael Rexroat made his first and only shot of the night to open the fourth quarter, and Thomas sank a basket to make it 60-52 with 7:30 remaining in regulation.
East continued to hang around and was down 68-57 at the 5:13 mark when it mounted another run.
Thomas got to the basket and scored, and freshman Ronnie Carson went on a six-point tear to make it 70-65 with four minutes remaining. Boyd finished off the run with a basket that made it a one-possession game with 3:45 left in regulation.
However, for the next two minutes, East did not have a single call go its way. Every shot it contested on defense was whistled for a foul, and the Jaguars were called for several travels and an offensive foul on the other end.
“That’s how it goes ... you have to fight through it and play through those things. That’s one of the things you teach them; you have to ignore the whistles and keep digging and clawing, and we did that tonight,” O’Bryan said.
Carson fouled out during the stretch, and Dunbar pushed the lead to 11 points at 80-69 with less than 90 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter with the help of 10 free-throw attempts.
Boyd finished the night as East’s leading scorer with 23 points; Collins scored 21; Bradshaw scored 16; Carson scored 14; and Thomas scored 10.
“It was a total team effort,” O’Bryan said. “ ... That’s just an amazing win, I’ll go back and watch that and be amazed no matter how many times I watch it.”
East is now 21-4 overall; it will host North Laurel (16-11) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Jaguars travel to Somerset (11-11) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., where they hope to remain perfect in the region (11-0).