Published 4:39 pm Thursday, January 5, 2012
POWHATAN – Success in sports isn't decided by style points. The only thing that matters is that you have more actual points than your opponent.
The Prince Edward County High School boys basketball team didn't collect many style points in their road contest at former Southside District member Powhatan on Tuesday night. The Eagles didn't get many of the counting ones, either. But most important for them, they had one more than the Indians in a 47-46 victory that went right down to a rimmed-out shot at the buzzer.
“That's not the way you would want to script it, but we'll take it,” said PECHS head coach James Scott. “We weathered the storm, and that was big for us as we go into the rest of the season.”
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Prince Edward was up 24-12 at the half, and did a good job at keeping Powhatan in check for much of the game, before the Indians mounted a late-game comeback.
Prince Edward held a 29-20 lead with 1:36 left in the third quarter on a made foul shot by Tilden Morton. But Powhatan caught fire, and went on a 7-2 run over the final 58.6 seconds of the period to pull to within four points at 31-27 on a Chris DeLeon three-pointer at the buzzer.
Powhatan completed the comeback to tie the game at 34 apiece, with 4:48 remaining in the game after Powhatan guard Joe Manion converted back-to-back steals into layups. A foul shot by Landen Bradley put the Indians up by a point for the first time since early in the first quarter.
The Eagles (6-7) responded with a 6-0 run, aided by a four-point conversion of a technical foul, in which Amonte Vaughan hit both free throws and then scored on a short jumper to put Prince Edward back up by five points with 3:19 left to play.
After a Vaughan layup at the 2:30 mark gave PE a 42-37 lead, Powhatan went on an 8-0 run and took a 45-42 advantage with just 33 seconds left.
Vaughan pulled the Eagles back even with a three-pointer with 19.5 seconds left, but an ill-advised foul on Prince Edward allowed PHS to retake the lead with seconds later on a made foul shot by Powhatan freshman Joey Balcom.
Prince Edward guard Cleon Watkins was fouled on the Eagles' ensuing possession while trying to rebound his missed shot with 3.6 seconds left. Following a Powhatan timeout, Watkins calmly swished both shots to give the Eagles the lead.
However, in a finish fitting of a game played in the 40-point range, that wasn't the end of the game. Prince Edward was whistled for a foul with 1.4 seconds remaining. Powhatan missed both foul shots, and the ball rolled out of bounds to Prince Edward.
Even with less than a second remaining, things were still not decided. The inbounds pass was tipped, and caught by Balcom, who heaved up a last-ditch shot attempt that rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.
In the span of four eight-minute quarters, Prince Edward built a double-digit lead and held it for most of the night. Then, the Eagles lost it, fell behind, retook a two-possession advantage, lost that, and fell behind by three points. After tying the game, they fell back behind by one, took the lead on two foul shots, and dodged three bullets to escape with the victory.
Some victories come easily. This wasn't one of those.
“We turned the ball over too many times in the open court in the second half,” said Scott, whose Eagles built as much as a 12-point lead. “We were taking team shots in the first half, moving the ball around and executed our offense. When we didn't do that, they got easy baskets for them on the other end.
“This is a game you probably have trouble bouncing back from if you lose. It was already a big game for us in that we needed the win, but it became even bigger as Powhatan made that run.”
Prince Edward was led by Vaughan, who, with 17 points, was the only PE player to score in double-figures. Freshman forward Teequan Banks scored eight points, as did senior center Walter Christmas.
DeLeon led the Indians with a game-high 19 points, while Manion and Tyler Allen scored eight points a piece.
Prince Edward will look to draw even in Southside District play on Friday night at Greensville. The Eagles lost to Brunswick before the Christmas break.
“I'm sure glad we're going into the Greensville game with this win under out belts. To lose this one the way we could have lost it, would've been hard to recover from.”
After Friday's game at Greensville, the Eagles will step back out of district to play at former district mate, Nottoway, on Monday.