SHAW – It was a thriller here Tuesday night when the Ray Brooks Tigers visited the Shaw Hawks for a Region 3-1A hardwood showdown.
The game was intense throughout, but when the dust settled the Tigers made the right plays when they needed to pull out a 51-50 win.
The Tigers improved to 11-8 overall with a 3-3 mark in the region. Shaw is now 5-14 overall with a 4-3 region record.
“Our guys really came out and found a way to win tonight,” said Ray Brooks head coach DeMarcus McKinley. “I had some guys that stepped up tonight and did what we needed to come back and finish the game strong.”
Ray Brooks led the game for the majority of the night, but in the fourth quarter Shaw started to make a move.
With 3:01 remaining in the contest, William Scott, Jr. made two free throws to give the Hawks a 46-45 lead. It was their first lead since they opened the contest with a 2-0 advantage.
The Hawks continued to put the pressure on as Jamarion Walker hit a basket and Stanley Jones hit two free throws to increase the Hawks’ lead to 50-45 with 2:24 left in the game.
The Tigers managed to get on the board with a layup from Jervais Beans for a 50-47 game with 2:12 remaining in regulation.
Shaw had a chance to increase the lead, but missed two free throws giving the ball back to the Tigers. With 1:09 on the clock, Ray Brooks’ Anthony Cockream scored on a layup to close the gap to 50-49.
Following the play, Shaw had another chance to push the lead up, but Jones couldn’t convert on a break-away lay-up with under a minute left to play and Ray Brooks grabbed the rebound with a chance to win the game.
With the ball, the Tigers went to work running plays for Mardarius Nix. Nix attempted a three-point shot, but missed. Beans out hustled the Hawks and secured the rebound and found Nix again who missed another three-point attempt. Beans outworked the Hawks again and was able to grab another rebound, but this time McKinley called a timeout to set up a final play with 11.6 seconds remaining in the game.
“We needed one basket and I told them when that ball goes up I need everybody to crash the board and don’t give up until we get that ball in our hands,” said McKinley.
Out of the timeout, the Tigers attempted to get the ball to Nix again, but the Hawks’ defense took that option away.
With the ball in his hands, Beans drove to the hoop and was able to bank the shot in with three seconds remaining to give the Tigers a 51-50 lead.
Shaw tried to get the ball down court, but time expired and the Tigers had held on for the victory.
“I’m proud of the way we played tonight. We started out really good, but Shaw is a good team and they got the lead. We were down by five in the fourth, but I told the team not to give up and that we had to play for each other,” McKinley added.
Shaw head coach Anthony Davis thought his team came out and missed assignments on defense, which put the team behind early.
“We did poor job on defense early on,” Davis said. “We blew a lot of assignments where we let No. 1 (Nix) get clean looks at the basket in the beginning of the game and he made us pay. He can really shoot the ball and we didn’t do what we needed to limit his opportunities.”
Cockream led Ray Brooks with 15 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Nix with 12 points, Treminski Jackson with 11 points and Beans with eight points and seven rebounds.
Walker led Shaw with 18 points, followed by Scott with nine points in the loss.
Ray Brooks will host Coldwater on Tuesday, while Shaw will hit the road to Coldwater on Friday.