Saturday, February 27, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Sr. Bear steals spotlight in defeat

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville junior Tyree Appleby turned in an incredible performance Tuesday night that hardly anyone in the packed, standing-room-only Sylvan Hills gym noticed. Appleby turned in a double-double with 30 points and 10 assists in leading the Red Devils to a thrilling 87-86 victory over the Bears in the regular-season finale. But senior Bear Cordy Winston stole the show.

Winston almost broke Archie Goodwin’s single-game school record, scoring 47 points while also dishing out seven assists in the loss. Goodwin, who now plays for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, scored 48 points in an overtime win over North Pulaski in 2012. Winston now has the school record for most points in regulation.

Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner deflected questions about his team, only saying it was “a lackluster performance.” Instead, he talked about Winston.

“This game was about Cordy Winston and the show he put on,” said Joyner. “We won the game, but he deserves the spotlight. This was his state tournament game. He stuck it out with the loyalty he showed to this school. He would come over with his homeboy Appleby, and watch our practices, wanting to make the tournament. But he stuck it out. He stayed with his school, and put on a performance tonight that will beat anything anybody does in the tournament.”

Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis had similar praise for his four-year starter who completed his high school career on Tuesday.

“That was something,” said Davis. “We’ve had some tough breaks the last couple years with losing personnel. We’re out of the playoff race. It’s senior night. So I just told them go out and make a memory, and that’s what he did. Sam (Williams) too. They both played great and they made some great memories.”

Jacksonville sophomore Harderrious Martin made the final big play of the game, stealing an inbound pass and hitting the game-winning layup when it appeared the Bears had completed the comeback.

Williams hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 13 seconds left that gave the Bears an 86-85 lead.

Jordan Washington then took a charge with six seconds to go to give Sylvan Hills (14-10, 6-8) possession under the Jacksonville basket, but Martin stole the pass right underneath the goal and hit an open layup to steal the game for Jacksonville.

“It was about time for us to play some defense,” Joyner said. “We didn’t do much of it up to that point, but like I said, I don’t even want to talk about us.”

Winston missed his first shot of the game, a layup. After that he didn’t force the ball inside. He didn’t have to. His jump shot was on point early and never wavered. Jacksonville jumped out to a quick 9-1 lead in the first two minutes of the game before Winston heated up.

He made five-straight shots without a miss, including a trio of 3-pointers and a pair of long-range 2-point shots. Winston would penetrate as far as he could without encountering contact, pull up and fire. With 2:40 left in the first quarter, he hit his third 3-pointer that gave the Bears a 16-15 lead. Winston had 13.

The score was tied 20-20 at the end of the first quarter, and the two teams combined for 16 points in the first two minutes of the second before things cooled down briefly. Jacksonville led 29-27 with six minutes left in the half, and the score stayed right there for almost three minutes before heating up again.

Jacksonville (17-8, 9-5) led 38-36 with a 40 seconds remaining, and then closed the half with a 5-0 run that gave it a 43-36 lead at the break.

The Red Devils increased their lead to 49-38 early in the third quarter before the Bears charged back into the game with a 7-0 run.

Washington was upended after going up for a shot in traffic, and somehow made the basket when he flipped the ball up over his head just before hitting the floor. He added the and-1 to complete a 12-1 run and make it 51-50 with 3:02 left in the third.

The scored was tied again at the end of the third, 62-62. Jacksonville scored first, but Winston hit his fifth 3-pointer to give the Bears their second lead of the game at 65-64 with 7:30 remaining. The game got sloppy for a few minutes at that point.

Jacksonville missed 3 of 4 free throws on one trip down the floor, leaving the score tied. The next five possessions all ended in turnovers – three by Jacksonville and two by the Bears.

Sylvan Hills finally took the lead on a bucket by Washington, and the two teams traded baskets to 73-73 with 3:15 remaining.

Appleby hit a pair of free throws to give the Red Devils the lead. Bralyn James then stripped Washington near midcourt and hit a layup for a 77-73 Jacksonville lead with 2:48 left.

Winston was fouled on the next possession and made 1 of 2 free throws. Appleby then made a 3-pointer for an 80-74 Jacksonville lead with 2:28 remaining.

Winston answered with a 15-footer before Appleby clanged a dunk off the rim and out of bounds, giving possession back to the Bears, but Red Devil sophomore Martin foreshadowed his defensive heroism by getting a five-second call on Winston.

Appleby then made just 1 of 3 free-throw attempts to make it 81-76, and Washington scored to make it a 3-point game.

James hit 1 of 2 at the line, and Winston drained his sixth 3-pointer to make it 82-81 with 42 seconds to go. Appleby got to the line and hit 1 of 2, and Winston answered by making a pair of free throws to tie the game with 29 seconds left.

Appleby then made two free throws with 26 seconds left for an 85-83 Red Devil lead and Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis called timeout. After the break, Williams took a pass at the top of the key and sank a 3-pointer to put the Bears up by one with 13 tics remaining. Appleby took the inbound pass and went the length of the court when Washington slid in front of him to draw the charge.

Williams finished with 18 points for Sylvan Hills. Washington had 16 points and 12 rebounds. J.D. Smith was the only other Bear to score, finishing with five points.

James had 16 points for Jacksonville. LaQuawn Smith and Chris Williams each scored 11.