Monday, February 06, 2017

SPORTS >> Titans escape Sylvan Hills

Leader sports editor

As has become the custom, Jacksonville and Sylvan Hills went to the wire on Tuesday. And, as also has become the custom, Jacksonville pulled out the nail biter, beating the Bears 64-62 in a 5A/6A-Central matchup at SHHS. 

Sylvan Hills had trailed by two and had possession with two seconds left under Jacksonville’s basket after a timeout. The Bears executed perfectly to get the ball the length of the floor and get an open look to tie, but Justin Glasco’s 14-footer wouldn’t fall as the visiting team celebrated. 

“It was supposed to be a 3-pointer because we wanted to go for the win,” said Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis. “I’m not sure if he (Glasco) stepped in there on his own or if the pass pulled him in there. Either way, the shot didn’t fall. We did everything else right and got an uncontested shot. It just didn’t go in. And that’s the story of the game tonight. Jacksonville got the breaks. They got some calls. They got some crazy shots to go in where ours didn’t. But we’re going to have that game where we get those breaks, and we’re going to get a call or two here before long. I’m proud of how we played and how we kept fighting.”

Jacksonville led by 10 at halftime, and the first basket of the third quarter gave the Titans a 39-27 lead. By the two-minute mark, that advantage was gone, and the game was back-and-forth the rest of the way.

Telah Wade score four-straight to start the Bears’ comeback. Jordan Washington then added four more to make it 39-35 with 4:24 left in the third. Sylvan Hills’ zone defense had Jacksonville standing still on offense and just passing the ball around the perimeter.

When Sylvan Hills’ Jacobé Davis found Washington alone under the basket for a layup with 1:35 left in the third, the Bears had their first lead of the game at 43-42.

There were four lead changes over the last 1:35 of the third, and the Titans took a 49-48 lead into the final period.

That was up to 56-50 with 5:10 to go, but Glasco sank a huge 3-pointer just 15 seconds later. Christian White scored for Jacksonville just 10 seconds after that, but Washington came back with another SH 3-pointer that pulled the Bears to within two with 3:25 remaining in the game.

The Titans again grew impatient with the Bears’ zone defense, and missed long 3-pointers on four-straight possessions. But Sylvan Hills didn’t capitalize. Finally, a pair of free throws by Jacobé Davis tied the game with 2:10 left, and Jacksonville made it five-straight missed 3-pointers on its next possession.

But again, Sylvan Hills missed. Harderrious Martin got the rebound and found Appleby snowbirding for a layup and a 60-58 Jacksonville lead with 1:50 to go.

Appleby then stripped Wade and hit another layup for a four-point lead with 1:36 remaining.

Jamal Johnson answered for the Bears with a driving finger-roll, and Appleby shot an air ball from 25 feet to give Sylvan Hills possession with exactly a minute remaining.

But on the ensuing possession, Daylon Raynor’s 3-point attempt barely caught iron and went out of bounds, and Appleby found Martin under the basket for a 64-60 lead with 35 tics remaining.

Johnson got to the rim again with 22 seconds left, and Washington stole the ball at midcourt for the Bears, sparking the first major protest from Kevin Davis. Washington flashed in front of a pass intended for DaJuan Ridgeway, who grabbed Washington’s jersey and was called for a foul.

Davis argued for it to be an intentional foul, which would have given the Bears two free throws and the ball back. Instead, it was only the sixth foul of the half and Sylvan Hills inbounded the ball at midcourt. That’s what sparked Davis’ second big argument.

Jacksonville trapped Raynor in front of the Titan bench. He threw a high pass to Washington in front of the SH bench. White and Washington collided as they went up and Washington went tumbling out of bounds as White came down with the ball.

Davis vociferously argued for a foul on White, but to no avail.

The Bears fouled Appleby with three seconds left, and he missed the front end of the one-and-one to set up the final play.

“It’s just obvious when they stretch the jersey out three feet he’s not making a play on the ball,” Davis said. “It’s clear. That should’ve been intentional.”

Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner still thinks his team (14-9, 5-4) can make a postseason run, but it will hinge on inside play. Jacksonville shot 25 3-pointers on Tuesday, and made eight. Joyner says that’s because his guards lack confidence in the post players.

“How many times did we throw it in there tonight and it go through somebody’s hands,” Joyner said. “The guards are going to have to understand to stick with the game plan, but the post men have got to get better. Tonight is a W. That’s all I can say. I don’t’ like how we played, but it’s a W.”

Appleby made six of Jacksonville’s 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 31 points. He also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Ridgeway finished with 14 points, while White had nine points and 12 rebounds.

Washington led the Bears with 17 points and nine rebounds. Wade added 15 and Jacobé Davis scored 10. Johnson and Glasco each scored nine for the Bears, who are now 15-6 overall and 4-5 in conference play.