Flyers Drop Double OT Thriller
The Sandhills Community College basketball team went into Saturday’s game against Brunswick Community College seeking a signature win for the three-year old program.
The Flyers led by as many as 14 points during regulation and by seven with less than two minutes remaining in the first overtime period against a team that made it to the Div. I national championships in Hutchinson, Kan., last season. But the Dolphins outlasted the home team 107-102 in double overtime in the game played at The O’Neal School.
“That would have put our name out there,” Flyer guard Johnny Elliot, who contributed 18 points, 13 assists and four steals, said afterward. “The program has just been here a couple years so we’re trying to get up there in the rankings. We really wanted this, really wanted it.”
Phillip Moultrie scored 25 points and grabbed 21 rebounds for the Flyers, now 12-4. Also enjoying big offensive games for the home team before a large New Year’s Day crowd were Raheem Jolliffe with 22 points and Markell Lotharp with 20. Alan-Michael Thompson led the 10-6 Dolphins with 24.
Sandhills has a 7:30 p.m. date tonight with Oxford College (Ga.) at The O’Neal School.
Jolliffe turned a steal into two points and then sank the first of his four threes to get the Flyers off to a 5-0 start. They closed the half with a 7-0 run that began with an Elliot steal for a basket by Erik Ewing. A long two by Elliot and a turnaround jumper by Moultrie on the buzzer made it 41-33 at halftime. Five minutes into the second half, a layup by Elliot gave the Flyers their biggest lead at 51-37.
“We finally started executing our plays,” Elliot said, explaining the strong start. “Our timing was great.”
The Dolphins caught up at 59-59 on jumper by Thompson at the midway point of the period. Based on the ferocious effort the rest of the way, neither team was acting like it minded playing on the holiday.
With just under two minutes remaining in regulation, it was the Flyers’ turn to rally after a pair of free throws by Chris Smith put the visitors in front 82-77.
A basket by Lotharp, and then a block at the other end by Moultrie, led to a hard foul on a layup attempt by Elliot in transition. Elliot sank both free throws and the Flyers were awarded the ball.
Elliot inbounded to Moultrie for the go-ahead basket.
Then came a wild final 30 seconds that ended with a pair of tying free throws by the Dolphins’ Devon Atkinson and a near miss on a final shot attempt by Moultrie.
Lotharp and Elliot each made a three as the Flyers took a 97-90 lead with 1:42 remaining in the first overtime.
The visitors used an 8-1 run to force a second extra period. Lattrell Royster, of the Dolphins, broke a 102-102 tie with a three and the Flyers were unable to score again.
“I think we were just waiting for the time to run off instead of keeping up with the same hustle,” Elliot said of letting the seven point advantage late in the first overtime disappear. “We didn’t keep playing.”
After the players exchanged their postgame handshakes, one of the Dolphins said, “This was the game of year.” It was a welcome outcome for coach Walter Shaw and his squad.
“This is a tough place to play,” the Dolphin coach said. “They came to play and we came to play. We’ve been losing a lot of close games so I’m proud of them for fighting through it.”
Denton didn’t feel that the high score represented what a tough defensive battle it was.
“Absolutely, it would have been a signature win for us,” he said. “We played not to lose in parts of the second half and that’s on me. I’ve got to get our mindset on playing our best basketball and not on holding on to the lead.
“I really thought the team that played the better defense would win and they held us when it counted at the end.”
Contact Charlie Bergmann at email@example.com.
Brunswick 107, SCC 102
Brunswick 33 54 11 9 107
Sandhills 41 46 11 4 102
Brunswick — Thompson 8 4-4 24, Atkinson 6 4-5 17, Smith 8 4-12 22, Knox 1 0-0 2, Royster 9 3-6 23, Rhodes 3 2-7 8, Harmon 1 0-2 2, Johnson 3 2-2 9. Totals 40 19-38 107. Sandhills — Jolliffe 8 2-2 22, Huntley 0 1-2 1, Cole 0 2-2 2, Moultrie 12 1-2 25, Thorne 0 0-0 0, Elliot 4 7-8 18, Hines 0 0-0 0, Houpe 3 1-2 8, Lotharp 6 7-10 20, Ewing 3 0-0 6. Totals 38 19-26 102. Three-point goals: (B) (Thompson 2, Smith 2, Royster 2, Atkinson, Johnson); (S)7 (Jolliffe 4, Elliot 3, Houpe, Lotharp).
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