Friday, February 25, 2011

SPORTS >> Owls sent home for season

Leader sportswriter

CARLISLE — Jamarlin Jack-son gave Abundant Life a bad sense of Déjà vu in the closing seconds of Clarendon’s 59-57 victory in the first round of the 2A-East Regional tournament at Carlisle on Thursday.

The Lions (17-7) erased an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and held the Owls scoreless over the final four minutes, as Jackson drove for the winning shot in the last 10 seconds. He missed his first attempt in the lane but gathered the rebound for a winning putback at the buzzer.

Jackson’s late play also sent Abundant Life home in the first round of last year’s regionals at White County Central during an overtime thriller between the two schools. With the victory, the Lions qualified for next week’s 2A state tournament at Buffalo Island Central.

“My guys, we’ve been battling adversity all year long, and that’s just another thing,” Owls coach Chris Horton said. “We fought, clawed, scraped, and I’m proud of them. They played with all their heart I could ask for. They never quit or gave up.

“I’m proud of my guys, no matter what the outcome was.”

Clarendon took early momentum on the hot hands of Elijah Gilliam, who hit three, three-point baskets in the first four minutes to help the Lions to a 13-4 lead in the first quarter before Abundant Life rallied with strong inside play from senior post player Brady Erickson. Erickson paced the Owls with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Erickson controlled the lane on both sides with help from sophomore Eric Moore and senior Clark Eudy, especially in the second half. Moore finished with 13 points and seven rebounds while Eudy had 10 points and four rebounds.

The Owls took over at the start of the fourth quarter when Corbitt Shock hit a three-pointer to give Abundant Life a 47-43 lead with 7:18 left to play.

Ryan Johnson extended the margin to 50-43 with a three pointer, and Erickson scored on a wide-open look under the basket with an assist from Johnson to make it 52-45.

Moore gave the Owls their biggest lead at 55-47 when he converted a basket and free throw with 4:44 left.

Shock drove the lane for a layup at the four-minute mark to make it 57-50, but it was the Owls’ final points, as the Lions closed it out with a 9-0 run.

“It was just like Déjà vu,” Lions coach Kendrick Hudson said. “We knew they were going to come in and play hard and play smart. We didn’t play well on defense, but some kind of way, we held on and make a shot at the end to win.”

Jackson took over late for the Lions with a three pointer with 3:52 left and a slashing move in the lane for two less than a minute later to make it 57-55. His tying basket came with 1:28 left.

Jackson led Clarendon with 28 points and three steals while Gilliam had 22 points. For Abundant Life, Shock had nine points while Johnson had eight points and six assists.