Published 12:02 am Saturday, December 22, 2012
Straughn’s 11th man came through for the Tigers Friday night in a thrilling 49-43 victory over rival Andalusia.
Tigers guard and game savior Brice Scott scored 18 points and was 4-for-6 from the 3-point line in the win, where the crowd made all the difference.
Scott also got a big play with time dwindling in the fourth period when he got a steal, a bucket and was fouled to give his team a 47-39 advantage.
“We had to weather the storm,” SHS coach Rusty Andrews said. “We didn’t play well, but we worked hard. We’ve just got to learn to handle the ball better in tight situations. They did a good job of pitching us out of what we do well.”
After Scott got his free throw, Andalusia quickly took advantage of missed shots and made some of its own as Jalen Cross, who had 12 points for the Bulldogs, scored four of his team’s last six points of the game.
Cross got a jumper with 1:03 and AHS coach Richard Robertson called a timeout with Straughn still ahead 47-41.
Devante Jackson was fouled right out of the timeout and made his 1-and-1 to cut the game to four at 47-43.
With 22 seconds left, Straughn put the game away on a couple free throws from JD Driver, who had 10 points and six rebounds.
“We fought hard,” Robertson said. “We put in the plan for this game, and then whenever we change it up and start going somewhere else, we lose some of our players.”
AHS started chipping away on Straughn’s 11-point lead in the fourth period on a quick 4-0 spurt from Keonta Hunter, who scored two quick buckets on a putback and pass from Sam Byrd.
The Bulldogs called a timeout and Jackson then stole a pass, but was fouled on the other end to force a three-point play. Jackson missed the free throw and AHS had cut the lead to 42-37.
Driver then got a good drive and missed, and Cross got a putback to give the Tigers their smallest lead of the night at 42-39 with 1:52 to go.
Panic wasn’t an option for SHS as Scott sent an assist to Hobie Hughes down low for an easy basket with 1:34 left.
Hughes then made a nice block on the defensive side and Scott made his stellar play to help set up the win.
“He’s starting to step up,” Andrews said about Scott. “He’s glued to us right now. He has that knack to be somebody we need to step up. We’ve just got to get everybody else going and keep going.”
Straughn held a 37-27 lead with 6:53 left in the fourth period and later led 40-29 on a Hughes put back.
Devin Scott later got a shot in to increase Straughn’s lead to 42-31 before Hunter started the ball rolling for Andalusia.
The Bulldogs (3-9) kept the game reasonable in the third period, despite trailing 24-16 at halftime.
Montel Lee found Byrd to start the second half and later on, Cross got a steal to put the game at 24-20.
Straughn answered on a good three-pass play from Brice to Rollin Kinsaul to Devin to give it a 26-20 advantage.
Hunter hit a 3-pointer with 3:41 to make it 29-23, and SHS went on to lead 34-27 going into the fourth period.
Both teams started slow in the first period as Straughn led 7-6 after the first eight minutes thanks to a late jumper by Hunter.
SHS then outscored the Bulldogs 17-10 in the second period.
Hughes chipped in six points and five rebounds. Devin also had a good night on the boards with five.
It was no secret that Andalusia’s game plan was to take Hughes out of the equation. However, the Tigers had Nick Stepp step up in a big way on the defensive end, Andrews said.
“He kept us in the ball game until Hobie could come back in the second half,” the Tigers’ coach said. “They had a good game plan for us. They’re a well-coached team.”
Jackson also had 12 points for AHS. Hunter put in nine points, and Byrd scored seven points.
“We’re going to go home and work and try to get better and see where it leads us,” Robertson said. “We haven’t given up on some success this season.”
In B-team action, Andalusia won 48-40.
Cameron Woods led the Bulldogs with 23 points. Kendarius Townsend chipped in nine points.
Straughn’s Brooks Rabren had 12 points.
Andalusia is back in action on Mon., Jan. 3, 2013, at home against Enterprise.
Straughn tips off against Daleville on Thursday at Red Level’s annual Christmas tournament.