Patriot Boys Win Thriller
A three-point play by sophomore Tony Allbrooks with 2.1 seconds remaining gave Pinecrest a thrilling 72-70 Senior Night victory over Douglas Byrd.
After a last-second miss by the Eagles, the Patriot student section filled the court and hoisted several of the players above the throng.
"Most of the credit tonight goes to Tony," said Seth Maness, one of the Patriot seniors honored between the girls' and boys' games. "He made a great play to finish the game and then nailed the free throw."
The battle for fourth place in the Mid-Southeastern Conference won, the young Patriot squad that includes only three seniors, has earned a spot in the state 4-A playoffs that begin on Feb. 19.
First comes a 6 p.m. Monday rematch with Douglas Byrd at Westover in the conference tournament.
Fired up by the student section, Maness had three treys and 11 points overall as the Patriots took a 21-14 first-quarter lead. Then with his team struggling late in the half, he undid much of that by being assessed a technical after committing a foul.
The Eagles netted six points out of the ensuing free throws and extra possession, turning a 31-30 Patriot lead into a 36-31 deficit.
"It was unfortunate that I got called for that," Maness said, "but other people stepped up and put the team on their backs."
Sophomores Josh Scales and Jarrin Wooten emerged from the intermission playing as if they were possessed by demons. Scales scored 1l of his 13 points in the period by attacking the basket.
His last two came at the foul line after being clipped on a three-point attempt, tying the game at 52-52 going into the fourth quarter.
"What I like about these kids is they have a lot of self-esteem," Patriot coach Mike Apple said. "They are very proud basketball players."
The Patriots went into the final period with the taste of having lost a lead to first-place Westover the night before. There were seven ties in the fourth quarter this time and four lead changes in the final minute.
With under 50 seconds to play, senior Adam Wire threw a cross-court pass to Maness for a jumper that gave the Pats a 69-68 lead. Moments later, Wire was fouled after rebounding a miss by Byrd star Terry McKinnon, but was unable to make either free throw.
Byrd regained the lead with 4.6 seconds left on a second-chance basket by Jason Hill. After a Patriot timeout, Allbrooks took the inbound pass and headed toward the basket. He was fouled as his jumper from near the foul line circled the rim before dropping through the net.
The Patriot faithful barely contained themselves for the final 2.1 seconds before engulfing the court.
"Our student body was out in full force tonight," Apple said. "It was a good high school basketball game. It was a shame somebody had to lose it."
Wooten (17 points, 14 rebounds) and Wire (10 and 13) both had double-doubles. Maness and Scales both finished with 16 points. The Patriots enter the postseason at 6-8 in league games and 11-13 overall. Byrd dropped to 6-8 and 11-12, including two losses to the Patriots.
Also honored on Senior Night were forward Ryan Sprouse and scorekeeper Caryn Cooper.
Although his minutes were limited after missing a month of action because of an ankle injury, Apple calls Sprouse a major contributor.
"He's in the basketball game from beginning to end," Apple said. "I can't say enough about his leadership."
Douglas Byrd 14 22 16 18 -- 70
Pinecrest 21 10 21 20 -- 72
Douglas Byrd -- Harvey 4 0-0 11, McKinnon 5 6-7 16, Hill 2 2-3 6, Blue 2 5-6 9, Worth 3 6-8 12, Barnett 0 2-2 2, Graham 5 0-0 10, Wilks 1 2-2 4. Totals -- 22 23-28 70.
Pinecrest -- Maness 6 1-2 16, Wire 3 4-10 10, Wooten 7 3-7 17, Sprouse 0 0-0 0, Scales 4 8-12 16, Breeden 0 0-0 0, Allbrooks 3 1-1 7, Threadgill 1 2-4 5, Brewer 0 1-2 1, McRae 0 0-0 0, Johnstone 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 24 20-38 72.
Three-point goals: Douglas Byrd 3 (Harvey 3); Pinecrest 4 (Maness 3, Threadgill).
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