Springwood boys’ varsity holds on despite late rally by Macon-East
Published 10:54 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Lanett– With only five seconds left on the clock, Springwood’s varsity boys team (4-2) had a chance to seal Tuesday’s game. Up three, the Wildcats were sent to the free throw line. After both attempts clanked off the rim, anything was possible.
Macon-East Montgomery Academy charged on the fast break but misfired on the only three-point attempt it saw, resulting in a 48-45 win for the Wildcats.
“This was a big win for these guys,” Springwood coach Lisa Sampson said. “We’ve had a couple of rough ones. This one was a challenge to their hearts and their guts. I’m so proud of them.”
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The Wildcats started the game fast, as they went into the locker room up eight. They took a double-digit lead on the first possession of the second half, on a fast-break layup.
From that point on, that lead started to dwindle, getting as close as three early in the fourth quarter.
A big reason for Macon-East’s second half comeback was the amount of fouls the Wildcats committed throughout the 16 remaining minutes of the game, as they went over 10 fouls for the half by the start of the fourth quarter.
“They were just pressing,” Sampson said. “They were not allowing the offense to develop. That’s what happens when you didn’t win a lot last year”
Since the offense was sputtering in the second half, Sampson turned to senior Francis Okeyia. With 5:53 left in the game, Okeyia drove inside, hop stepped and threw up a layup as he took a shot. The basket counted, and he hit the ensuing free throw, putting the Wildcats up eight.
From that point, Okeyia went to the free throw line nine more times, making six of them.
“Francis is just a special player,” Sampson said.
“I think at one point, the fouls were 10 to two, and he was getting clobbered, but he’s such a strong player that sometimes he doesn’t get the fouls other kids do. We challenged him to be a leader and to play hard every time down the court, and he showed me something tonight.”
Overall, Springwood made 13 of their 25 attempts at the line.
Okeyia finished with 23 of the Wildcats 48 points, making eight shots from the field. Tyrese Ferguson added 10 points. Only five Wildcats finished with a point.
The Wildcats will be back in action on Tuesday, Dec. 10 when they host LaFayette Christian.