Saints advance to Final 8

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Troyce Manassa was like a wrecking ball coming through the lane.

Troyce Manassa was like a wrecking ball coming through the lane.

The LBW Saints men’s basketball team knocked off Snead State 66-64 in the first round the Alabama Community College Conference state playoffs Saturday night at home.


The Saints fell behind early in the contest, but went on a 13-0 run to take a 17-10 lead with 12 minutes left in the opening half.


During the run, the Saints capitalized on turnovers with precision shooting. Jarned Estell had 5 points for the Saints during the run. Eric McIntosh capped off the run with a thunderous dunk off a turnover.


Troyce Manassa got his second basket off the contest after driving through lane like a freight train.


Lamarcus Frazier followed Manassa’s layup with one of his own to put the Saints up 21-12 with less than 10 minutes left in the first half.


The Saints continued to focus on high-percentage shots. Estell drove the baseline, and laid in a magnificent reverse layup off the glass.


Manassa had the next 4 points for the Saints with another strong layup, and a smooth-as-silk jumper.


Kenneth Keith put the Saints up 32-25 with a long-range 3-pointer around the five-minute mark in the first half.


As the first half was winding down, Frazier connected on a 3-pointer.


At halftime, the Saints led Snead State 37-29.


Snead State opened the second half with a quick 3-pointer to cut into the Saints’ advantage.


McIntosh put in the first 2 points for the Saints in the second half.


Snead State then got the next 4 points.


The Saints responded with 2 points from Estell, and then Manassa got a 3-point play the old fashioned way to put the Saints up 46-36 with just under 15 minutes left to play.


The Snead State offense started to heat up at that point, and went on a 20-3 run over the next 10 minutes. During the run, Snead State had 12 straight points from 3-pointers. Snead State was leading 56-49 with 6:35 left in the game.


Nick Green sparked the Saints’ offense with a big-time dunk, and then Manassa took over with 7 straight points to put the Saints back on top 58-56 with 1:50 remaining in the contest.


However, Snead State tied the game up 58-58 with 15.6 seconds left on the clock.


Manassa had one last shot near the buzzer, but was unable to get it to fall, sending the game into overtime.


The Saints opened up the extra period with 2 points off a fadeaway jumper from Frazier.


Snead State followed with a 1-for-2 effort at the free throw line, and trailed the Saints by 1 point.


Green pushed the lead up to 3 points with a perfect trip to free throw line.


Snead State responded with another quick basket.


The Saints then bumped the lead up to 5 points with a layup from Phillip Mouzon, and a 2-for-2 effort at the free throw line from Estell.


Snead State had the last basket of the game with a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Saints’ lead.


The Saints were able to hold of Snead State in the final seconds for a 66-64 victory.


“I thought we played hard tonight,” Saints’ head coach Ricky Knight said. “We should have won that game in regulation. We did some things we shouldn’t have. We were turning the ball over when they weren’t putting pressure on us, and we missed too many layups right under the basket. We got tired, but overall we did what we needed to a get a win. We kind of panicked when we lost that 10-point lead, but I just told them to settle down and just play our game.”


Manassa led the Saints with 24 points. Frazier finished the night with 13 points, and Estell added 10 points in the win.


Manassa also finished the game with a team-high 12 rebounds, and three assists.


The Saints will be back on the hardwood Thursday at 7 p.m. versus Southern Union for the Final 8 round of the ACCC state tournament in Bay Minette.