Gruden plans to be back for a third year leading the team. The team is 4-2 in two appearances. It lost in the quarterfinals in 2019 at Capital University in Bexley.
“It is a lot of work,” Gruden said, “but it’s something I’m really passionate about, and I enjoy it a lot. I’ll do this for years to come. I hope all the Flyers out there are watching, the former players and some of the guys who turned us down. If we get a good squad, we’ve got a real chance to win this. I think this team had a really good chance to win this, too, though. I think this is a great steppingstone. I think year one was good. We got better in year two. Hopefully, we just keep improving year after year and make a run, and when we get back to UD Arena, it’ll be a little different with 13,000 fans.”
» LANDERS: ‘This is my NCAA tournament’
The Red Scare opened the fourth quarter with five straight points on a layup by Trey Landers and a 3-pointer by Darrell Davis, taking their first lead of the second half, 62-61, only to then give up a 5-0 run. They trailed the rest of the way.
Four turnovers in the next couple minutes hurt the Red Scare, who faced a 71-64 deficit when the Elam Ending went into effect with under four minutes to play. The first team to reach 79 points would win the game.
Trey Landers led the Red Scare with 21 points. Darrell Davis scored 15. Devin Oliver had 10.
The Golden Eagles advanced to the championship game at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The opponent will be No. 2 seed Overseas Elite, which won four straight championships from 2014-18, or No. 22 seed Sideline Cancer.
Landers scored seven points in the first quarter and scored on a fast-break dunk in the final seconds as the Red Scare took a 16-15 lead to the second quarter. There were five ties and six lead changes in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the lead continued to change hands often. Maurice Acker made a running one-handed 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Golden Eagles a 38-34 halftime lead.
Darrell Davis, Ryan Mikesell and Landers all had seven points at the half. Ryan McMahon, who made eight 3-pointers in the first two games, made 2 of 4 3-pointers and scored six in the half.
The Golden Eagles pulled ahead by as many as eight points in the third quarter. Landers kept the Red Scare close by making 6 of 6 free throws in a two-minute stretch.
The Red Scare faced a 56-49 deficit entering the final two minutes of the third quarter when McMahon hit a 3-pointer and Darrell Davis followed with a layup to cut the deficit to 56-54. They trailed 61-57 after three quarters.
The Red Scare received a first-round bye and advanced to the semifinals by beating Big X 77-68 on Wednesday and House of 'Paign 83-76 on Friday.
Highlights: Red Scare vs. House of 'Paign