The Sandhills Community College basketball team fell 92-88 at Davidson County CC on Wednesday in a back and forth contest that was not decided until the final seconds.
Leading by as many as 15 points in the second half, the Flyers led for the last time in the battle for a share of first place in Region X at 83-82 with 2:40 remaining in the game before a three by Jeremy Ritter put the Storm in front. The Flyers trailed 88-85 with 20 seconds remaining when a potential game-tying three by Eric Field hit the back rim, popped straight up, came down and rolled off the rim.
A pair of free throws by the Storms’ Brayden Masten made it 90-85, but a three-point play by the Flyers’ Jeremias Easterling cut the margin to two with five seconds remaining. Two free throws by Ritter then completed the scoring.
“I was really proud of how we competed defensively,” Flyers’ coach Mike Apple said. “We took away some of the things they do real well some of the time and I hope that’s a sign of good things to come. Obviously we had way too many turnovers (25). Anything in the twenties is too many. At this time of year it has to be between 10 and 15.”
Josh Smith scored a Flyer-career and game-high 28 points for the Flyers (16-5, 4-2 Region X), including six threes in nine attempts. Easterling scored 15 to go with 16 rebounds. Field added 11 points and along with Christian Lathan was credited with five assists. Ritter led the Storm (18-1, 5-0) with 23 points.
The loss snapped the Flyers’ four-game winning streak. They will host Shooting-4-Greatness Academy of Raleigh at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Heins Gymnasium.
The Storm took an early seven-point lead, but the Flyers caught up and took a 44-42 advantage into the intermission. With just under 14 minutes remaining in the game, the Flyers increased their lead to 63-48.
“We hit some big shots and took advantage of some of their mistakes,” Apple said. “Then they made a run on us.”
The Flyers will get another shot at the No. 2 in NJCAA Division III Storm at home next Wednesday. It is possible the teams will meet again in next month’s Region X tournament to be held at Central Carolina CC.
“The guys had a good effort,” the Flyers’ coach said. “They were disappointed because they knew if they had executed a little bit better we could have had a nice win.”
Flyer notes – Luke Moore blocked four shots to tie him with another freshman, Mason Harrell, for the Flyer single-game high this season. Harrell has blocked four shots on two occasions. Freshman Johnny McFadden has missed the last three games because of an injury, but is expected to be ready to play again on Saturday. Onondaga CC of Syracuse, N.Y. is No.1 in this week’s national rankings. The Flyers are No. 12 in the voting by the NJCAA Poll Committee.
Sandhills – Lathan 1 2-2 4, Harris 2 0-2 4, Smith 10 2-4 28, Easterling 5 5-6 15, Garrison 1 0-1 2, Liluashvili 3 0-0 6, McCrimmon 0 2-2 2, Thomas 1 1-1 3, Moore 2 0-0 5, Field 5 0-0 11, Childs 1 2-2 4, Harrell 2 0-0 4 Totals 33 14-20 88. Davidson – Ritter 5 10-12 23, Rothrock 0 0-0 0, Sanders 6 1-2 14, Tripp 3 0-2 7, Crutchfield 6 1-2 13, Coats 2 0-0 5, Hill 0 1-2 1, Wright 1 0-0 2, Lipscomb 6 1-2 18, Brann 0 0-0 0, Masten 1 7-10 9 Totals 30 21-32 92. Three-point goals: SCC 8 (Smith 6, Moore, Field); DCCC 11 (Lipscomb 5, Ritter 3, Sanders, Tripp, Coats).
-Photo by Donna Ford