Holding on to a 15-5 halftime lead Thursday night, Centertown’s 5-6 grade basketball team looked to make easy pickings of the visiting Eastside Bulldogs. But after two more quarters of turnovers, miscues, fouls and fluctuations, Centertown squeaked out a 21-20 win at the buzzer.
Playing consistently accurate offense and aggressive pressing defense helped the Warriors (4-1) to a 17-10 lead after three quarters as Eastside (2-2) found their groove in late-game play to close to within 5 points of Centertown, 19-14. With 1:32 left in the contest, Bulldog Easton West stole the ball and one fast break later it was 19-16. Still pressing, Eastside’s Levi Jones took advantage of another turnover, missed but got the ball back in the ensuing melee and it became a 1-point contest, 19-18, with 1:06 left on the clock.
With both teams going full throttle, Bulldog Jonathan Pacina drew a foul and suddenly it was tied, 19-19. Centertown’s hurry-up response drew a foul from the Bulldogs this time, and Warrior Baler Melton was a cool customer hitting 2-for-3 from the line, 21-19, leaving 38 ticks on the clock.
It wasn’t over yet, though. Hoping for a buzzer beater, Eastside missed two foul shots but got the ball back. On the throw-in, Center-town’s Casen Young-blood thwarted a last-second shot by blocking the inbound pass.
“They played with great heart,” said Centertown head coach Rex Crabtree. “They’re a good team and made an excellent comeback. We just found a way to win.”
Making up the point total for the Centertown Warriors were Meton with 6 points, Aiden Miller, Tyler Adams and Ethan Roach each with 4 points and Ashton Griffith with 3 points.
“We shot much better in the second half,” said Eastside Bulldog head coach Mike Jones. “We started picking up but just ran out of time.”
Making up the Bulldogs points were West with 9 points, Pacina had 5, Jones scored 4 points and Dillon Vandeveer added 2 points.
Elementary Basketball Stats
5-6 Grade Boys
Irving College 4-2
Bobby Ray 2-1
Hickory Creek 2-5
West Elementary 1-3
Boyd Christian 1-5
5-6 Grade Girls
Irving College 3-3
Bobby Ray 1-2
Boyd Christian School 2-4
Hickory Creek 1-6
West Elementary 0-4
All stats reported compiled and updated through Oct. 7.