Cobras Topple Flyers in OT
Sandhills Community College inbounded the ball from under its own basket with 2.9 seconds remaining in a tie basketball game against Caldwell Community College Monday evening. The pass went to Kameriaz Harrington in the left corner. His left-handed shot was on line, but barely grazed the near side of the rim.
“I thought it was good when it left my hand,” he said.
Teammate T.J. Jones grabbed the rebound at the far side of the basket and with one motion put the ball back up, but it missed its mark as time expired.
That’s how agonizingly close the Flyers came to taking a firm hold on first place in the Region X conference that gives its regular-season champion a ticket to the district tournament in March. They were outscored 15-10 by the visiting Cobras in the overtime period, suffering a 96-91 defeat.
The Flyers dropped to 18-4 and 3-1 going into Thursday’s 7 p.m. conference game at The O’Neal School’s Tate Gym against Central Carolina CC. The Cobras, 14-9, 4-1, moved into first place by a half-game.
In one of the most exciting home games in the five years of the basketball program, the Flyers overcame a 13-point deficit with 13 minutes left in the game to send the game into overtime.
“This was a huge game,” Flyers’ coach Mike Apple said afterward. “We played extremely hard to get back in the ball game. We did it by taking the ball extremely hard to the basket. Then we got back to what got us behind in the first place — shooting the three-ball and not looking to penetrate.
“The three is great when it goes in, but it’s not the way you want to do it.”
The Flyers’ eight-for-34 shooting from behind the arc contributed in a big way to an overall 29-for-83 night from the field (35 percent). That, combined with a high intensity effort by a Cobra squad they defeated in a close game earlier this month, made it a struggle.
With the game tied at 24-24 late in the first half, Patrick Monroe scored nine points as the Cobras broke out to a 39-30 lead at the intermission.
A large part of the noise in the gym during the rally was coming from a fired-up Cobra bench.
“We just wanted to give more effort and show we could play with them,” Cobra guard Jericho Jackson said of his team’s goal coming in. “We tried to control the tempo and not let them do what they wanted to do.”
The teams traded baskets for the first five minutes of the second half before two in a row by Jackson, and another by fellow-guard K.J. Jones, gave the Cobras a 56-43 lead at the 13-minute mark.
A runner for two by T.J. Gill, and then a steal by the sophomore and pass to Isaac Lyerly for a layup in transition, got the home team going. Lyerly, Montre’l Cooke and T.J. Jones helped maintain a fast pace. The Flyers had trouble stopping Cordaris Townes inside, but finally took the lead with 5:10 to play.
Harrington was fouled while making a three from the side and converted the free throw for a 72-71 lead. A basket by the Flyers’ Raheem Washington tied the game at 81-81 with a minute to go before both teams squandered chances to take the lead and the game went into overtime.
“We told our players the whole game they were going to make a run,” Cobras’ coach Matt Anderson said. “They’re a great team so we just hoped we could weather it. They’re the best team in the country I’ve seen in transition.”
The Flyers never led in overtime. T.J. Jones scored off an offensive rebound to tie the game for the last time at 91-91 with 1:20 remaining. What turned out to be the decisive points came on a drive for two by Jackson at the 50-second mark.
Lyerly and Jones both missed three-point attempts before two free throws by Cobra K.J. Jones made it a two-possession game.
“Our guys were pretty mentally tough and stuck in there,” Anderson said.
Harrington led the Flyers with 16 points and a dozen rebounds. Jones finished with 14 to go with 12 boards and seven assists. Lyerly and Cooke scored 14 and 13, respectively. Townes with 24 and Jackson with 23 led the winners, who connected on just under one half of their shots from the field.
Two teams from Region X will go to the district tournament held at Rockingham CC this year. The Region X tournament leading up to that will be held at Catawba Valley CC. After Thursday, the Flyers have conference games remaining at Davidson, Wytheville and Central Carolina.
A win against Caldwell would have given the Flyers a two-game edge over everybody with three games to play.
“This loss gives us a whole new view of the rest of the schedule,” Harrington said. “We have to win out the rest of the season and hope they (Caldwell) lose one more than we do.”
Caldwell CC 39 42 15 — 96
Sandhills CC 30 51 10 — 91
Caldwell: Jones 4 8-8 17, Jackson 9 4-4 23, Monroe 6 1-4 16, Wilson 2 0-2 5, Townes 11 2-4 24, Hampton 2 0-0 5, Williams 1 1-2 3, Griffin 2 0-0 4, Thomason 0 0-0 0, McDowell 0 0-0 0, Gaither 0 0-0 0, Harvey 0 0-0 0. Totals 37 16-24 96.
Sandhills: Gill 3 2-2 9, Washington 5 3-5 13, T.J. Jones 4 5-10 14, Cooke 3 5-8 13, Harrington 5 5-6 16, Cuthbertson 1 2-2 4, Graham 3 1-2 7, Lyerly 5 1-2 14, Cotton 0 1-2 1, Vinson 0 0-0 0, D. Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 25-39 91.
Three-point goals: CC 6 (Monroe 3, Jones, Jackson, Hampton); SC 8 (Lyerly 3, Cook 2, T.J. Jones, Gill, Harrington).
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