By JASON KING
Bryan Colson appeared to feel so good about saving the day he decided to do it again during the first round of the Red Devil Classic on Monday night.
North Pulaski’s senior forward made a shot from the lane with four seconds left in overtime to give the Falcons a 57-55 victory over Little Rock McClellan at the Devil’s Den. Colson tied the game 53-53 with a step-back three- pointer on an inbounds play with two seconds left in regulation to force the overtime.
The Falcons’ defense allowed just two points in the extra period and Colson reprised his hero role in the final four seconds for the victory.
It was the last of three overtime games during Monday’s first round, and from start to finish it was the closest of all six. Colson’s 18-point, seven-rebound performance countered strong games by McClellan’s Gregg Easter and Rod Harris, who each finished with 15 points.
“I’m just proud that we gutted it out,” North Pulaski coach Raymond Cooper said. “In the past, a lot of times, we’ve been our own worst enemy. But other than making free throws, I thought we executed and we gave ourselves a chance to win.”
McClellan’s early 17-8 lead was the largest of the game. The Falcons (3-5) rallied quickly in the third quarter with an 11-0 run over the first 3:18.
The Lions (3-5) controlled the inside in the first half before Colson, reserve center Jeremiah Hollis and guard Shyheim Barron got to work inside for the Falcons in the second.
Hollis, a 6-6 junior, had six rebounds and a pair of blocks, but it was the undersized Barron, 5-11, who led North Pulaski with eight rebounds.
“We talked about the effort that they were giving,” Cooper said. “And what our effort level was as opposed to theirs, and they were just scrapping for the ball more than we were.
“If we wanted to give ourselves a chance to win, we had to control that. And they did a great job of responding and coming out in the second half and doing it by committee.”
Hollis clogged the lane and took the Lions out of their rhythm, which resulted in only four McClellan baskets in the second half.
“Jeremiah Hollis stepped up tonight,” Cooper said of Hollis’ defense. “He really grew for a guy that’s in his first season, I think he’s starting to figure it out, and he had an impact on this game.”
McClellan held a 51-50 lead in the final minute and decided to run the clock down for one final play. That resulted in a trip to the free-throw line for Harris, who hit both shots to put the Lions up 53-50 with 14 seconds left.
The Falcons got the ball to the sideline in front of the North Pulaski bench with seven seconds remaining. Braylon Spicer passed to Colson with two seconds left, and the buzzer sounded as Colson’s arching shot went through the net.
Spicer also had the assist on Colson’s winner in overtime.
“You want to be in an atmosphere where it’s exciting and the crowd is loud,” Cooper said. “There are always good crowds here, and this gym for some reason makes a lot of noise. So, that’s where you want to be. “