Fort Dale boys nip Sparta in overtime

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2006

Trailing by as much as 10 points in the second half without the services of Davis Watts, who had been sent to the hospital with a concussion, Fort Dale seemed like it was just treading water.

With the odds seemingly stacked against the Eagles, they battled their way back and knocked off Sparta Academy 64-62 in overtime in their regular season finale.

&#8220Our guys stepped up and went all out,” said Fort Dale's lone senior Brady Newton. &#8220The refs really let us play, which I think helped us. I don't like to play in games where they blow the whistle all the time.”

After chipping away at Sparta's lead, Fort Dale earned the lead with 6:48 left in regulation on a Bobby Martin bucket for a 41-40 advantage.

From there, the two teams exchanged baskets with the Eagles holding onto a narrow lead. Fort Dale (7-17) held the visiting Warriors to just one basket for almost four minutes to gain a nine-point margin with less than three minutes to play.

But Sparta would not quit.

The Warriors (14-8) charged back and eventually tied the game at 53 with nine seconds on the clock thanks to a J.R. Williams 3-pointer.

And Fort Dale had a chance to win the game in regulation when Ben Bates was fouled with one second left. Both attempts rimmed out to send the game into overtime.

The lead changed hands twice in the first two minutes of the extra period until Martin regained the lead for Fort Dale on a layup with 1:29 left to play.

Sparta still kept fighting and tied the game with 47 seconds remaining with a Williams' jumper, but the Warriors could not buy a basket from there.

Adam Vickery sank 1-of-2 free throws with 36 seconds left to give Fort Dale the lead for good, and Newton dropped 1-of-2 free throws with 17 ticks on the clock to salt the victory away.

Casey Weston led Fort Dale with 26 points, while Martin chipped in 19.

Will Ivey paced Sparta with 17, while Eric Talbot added 11.

Fort Dale dropped two games earlier last week at home against area foe Morgan Academy on Friday and then in a non-area matchup against Lee-Scott.

The Eagles fell to Lee-Scott 47-40 on Saturday and 42-38 to Morgan Academy on Friday.

Now the Eagles turn their attention to the upcoming area tournament, which Fort Dale will host starting Thursday.

Eagles coach Reggie Mantooth hopes the win Tuesday will be a springboard for his team.

&#8220We found out a lot about ourselves without Davis playing in the second half,” Mantooth said. &#8220We did a lot of bad things tonight, but we did enough good things to win.”

Fort Dale, which is the fourth seed in the boys area tournament, will face regular-season area champ and No. 1 seed Morgan Academy at 8 p.m. Thursday.

&#8220I think this win gave us a good boost of confidence going into the tournament,” Newton said. &#8220We think we've got a good shot to win the tournament.”