Falcons fly past Saints in OT
Published 9:37 pm Friday, January 15, 2016
The Alliance Christian Academy boys’ basketball team opened up a solid lead in the second half of an intense game against host Nansemond-Suffolk Academy on Thursday. The Saints rallied to force overtime, but the Falcons outscored them 17-11 in the extra period to win 73-67.
NSA coach Lamont Strothers pointed to free throws and turnovers as key factors in the final outcome of the contest that he called a heartbreaker.
“We were down 10, and we fought back to send it to overtime,” Strothers said.
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The Saints actually held a 56-54 lead near the end of regulation when Alliance senior guard Josh Jennings came up with a big play.
Cutting off of a screen, “he turned the corner to drive to the basket, and he saw that they cut his lane off, and he pulled up and faded back” to shoot, Falcons coach Rodney Harmon said.
“It was a contested shot; we did what we were supposed to do,” Strothers said. “He just hit a tough shot.”
Harmon said good defense by Alliance after that helped force overtime.
The Saints had the play at the rim that they wanted with 1.6 seconds left in regulation, but they could not maintain possession of the ball.
Both teams had to do without key players for portions of the game.
Harmon cited the loss of three of his starters in the second half as contributing to Alliance losing its lead.
Falcons freshman forward Caleb Butts was ejected three minutes into the third quarter after receiving his second technical foul, each of which came after a physical encounter during the effort to grab a rebound.
Alliance junior guard Gabriel Dickerson, of Suffolk, and senior guard Myron Prescott fouled out near the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, respectively.
“What I learned about my team is they faced adversity, and they won,” Harmon said, though he noted they let frustration set in at a time that they shouldn’t have.
Nevertheless, heroes emerged.
“It was good for us to have this type of game because it made our bench players step up,” Harmon said.
Falcons senior guard Emmanuel Madkins came off the bench in the fourth quarter and played the rest of the way.
“He was a huge lift,” Harmon said. “He rebounded well, he controlled the ball, passed the ball well.”
Alliance starting freshman guard Bryce Britt, ended up with 18 points and was phenomenal from the free throw line, where he went 16-for-16.
“It’s rare that you see a freshman shoot that well from the free throw line,” Harmon said.
Jennings, the Falcons’ scoring leader, racked up three fouls in the first quarter, and Harmon had to sit him. He had only four points at halftime.
“He played the whole fourth and overtime with four fouls and ended up with 19 points,” Harmon said. “It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when he really turned it on.”
For Nansemond-Suffolk, senior guard Matthew Shiembob struggled early and saw limited minutes until senior forward Hunter Brinkley was ejected in the third quarter.
Strothers said Butts threw an elbow, and Brinkley said something back, prompting their first technical fouls in the game, and they got tangled up again later, resulting in Brinkley’s second technical.
“Had Hunter not got ejected, he was starting to feel it,” Strothers said, after noting Brinkley had hit a couple big shots.
With him gone, Shiembob was the next man up, and he came through with 19 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
As part of the Saints’ effort to keep the Falcons out of the middle, “Spencer Salmon took five charges, and that turned the game around,” Strothers said, noting Salmon took four of them in the fourth quarter. “It made them hesitant on how they came to the paint.”
Alliance Christian (10-4) visited Williamsburg Christian Academy on Friday and hosts Broadwater Academy on Tuesday. NSA (6-6) hosts Hampton Roads Academy on Thursday.