The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 12, 2014

Eagles hold off rally

Boys defeat Hillcrest 61-60

The Joplin boys basketball team held off a second-half rally from visiting Hillcrest to hang on for a 61-60 Ozark Conference win Tuesday night at Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium.

Eight Hornet turnovers in the first half helped the Eagles open a 37-31 halftime lead before Joplin was outscored 29-24 in the second half.

With the score tied at 60, senior guard Charlie Brown was fouled while driving to the basket. He missed his first free throw but hit what proved to be the game-winning foul shot with 10.6 seconds left in the game — with one good eye.

“When I drove in for the layup before I got fouled, they knocked my contact out,” Brown said. “So I was going up to the line, I was trying to squint and see the rim, but it was blurry so I had to regroup for the second one. And I just knocked it down. There really wasn’t any pressure.”

The Eagles snapped a four-game losing streak behind a balanced offensive attack. Brown finished with 20 points to lead Joplin. Senior forward Dillon McVay added 15 on a 6-for-7 shooting night.

“I’ve played with Charlie for a while,” McVay said. “And recently, he’s been having some off games. So whenever the rest of us, me, Keiondre (Adams), Spencer (Layne), the rest of us can get in and get some points, it really helps relieve some of the pressure that’s on him.”

Five other Eagles also got in on the scoring action. Jace Braker finished with nine, Carlos Santilan added seven and Adams had six. Delshaun Garth and Spencer Layne had two each to round out Joplin’s offense.

“We needed to get the monkey off our back,” Joplin coach Jeff Williams said. “We’d lost four in a row and played really bad last night (losing 59-44 to McDonald County on Monday).

“But we talked about forgetting everything and playing as hard as they could possibly play. The kids really are responding. The feeling was so good after the game, I said ‘Don’t forget this feeling, because this is what winning is.’ We were a bunch of happy campers after struggling a little bit here recently.”

Brown had 10 points before hitting a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the third quarter to put Joplin up 48-44 going into the fourth.

The teams traded the lead by hitting free throws in the middle of the final quarter before 6-foot-3 guard Brady Petry tied the game at 55 with a long trey for Hillcrest with 3:40 left.

Petry picked up two fouls in the next 1:32, fouling out with 2:08 remaining. He finished with 18 points, including three treys and a put-back slam dunk.

After a basket by Brown, David McIntosh hit his third and fourth free throws for the Hornets to tie the game at 57.

With 1:08 remaining, Darnell Green-Beckham, younger brother of Missouri Tigers wide receiver Dorial, put Hillcrest up 59-57 with an easy layup.

Brown responded with another 3-pointer to put the Eagles up 60-59 with 40 seconds left. Juwan Johnson was fouled and made just one free throw for the Hornets, tying the game at 60 before Brown’s game-winning trip to the line.

“I knew he was going to hit one,” Williams said smiling. “He usually doesn’t miss any.”

Green-Beckham missed a jump shot as time expired.

The Eagles continue league play Friday night at Kickapoo.

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