01/16/05 — CPIC -- Chargers struggle at free throw line

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CPIC -- Chargers struggle at free throw line

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on January 16, 2005 2:01 AM

The match-up between Kerr-Vance and Wayne Country Day -- two ranked men's basketball teams in their respective N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association polls -- lived up to the hype.

One key facet -- free throws -- prevented the Chargers from knocking off their Coastal Plains Independent 1-A/2-A Conference rival.

With the game on the line, Wayne Country Day went 0-for-6 from the stripe in the final 1:30 of a nail-biter and missed the front end of a one-and-one with 15.8 seconds left. Eventually, Kerr-Vance's Justin Burke finished off a three-point play off of an inbounds pass under the basket with 9.1 seconds left to push the game to its final margin, 57-55.

The Chargers' Spenser Briggs dribbled the length of the floor on the ensuing possession, but had the ball knocked away while driving the left baseline in the waning seconds as the Spartans (14-1, 2-0) held on for a tough, road win.

"We had our best players on the line shooting those free throws. We had this game put away if we make our free throws," Wayne Country Day coach Randy Tilley said. "I commend the guys on the way they played and being able to take the lead, but we've got to make those free throws.

"The time out situation was in our favor, the possession arrow was in our favor. We had this game wrapped up, but we shot ourselves in the foot."

The Chargers (12-4) exited the game 1-1 in the CPIC.

The women's game didn't come down to the final seconds thanks to a stout, final three minutes by Wayne Country Day. Kerr-Vance (3-11, 1-1) got to within one at 41-40 at the three minute mark, but never scored again as the Chargers claimed a 50-40 victory.

The win improved Wayne Country Day to 1-1 in conference play as they picked up their seventh win against ten losses. However, it marked the Chargers' first win with fill-in coach Michael Taylor on the sideline. At 10:30 on Friday morning, Taylor found out he was to be coach-for-a-night as head coach Toni Ingram was out due to sickness.

Taylor, who coaches soccer and baseball at WCDS, picked up his first win as a varsity basketball coach.

"I found out around 10 a.m. I got some information about Kerr-Vance, had a meeting with the girls and I was ready to go," Taylor said.

Guard Tiara Broadie paced the Lady Chargers with 23 points, while center Laura Ziemer added 11 of her 15 points in the second half.

The Chargers' boys, ranked fourth in 1-A, proved they were every bit up to the challenge presented by the 2-A, top-ranked Spartans. Kerr-Vance's Dustin Thomas poured in 32 points, while Adam Wright dropped in 26 for the Chargers. The two top scorers combined to total 52 percent of the offensive output on the game -- often dueling back-and-forth.

Wright also had a handful of key blocked shots and rebounds on the defensive end to spark his team.

The Spartans built an early, 16-7 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter. But, a 3-pointer by Wayne Country Day's Kevin Logan and a drive and score by Briggs, who finished with 15 points, helped trim the margin to 16-13 by period's end.

From there, Kerr-Vance's largest lead was six, while the Chargers claimed their first lead at 34-32, then largest lead at 36-32 midway through a dominant defensive run in the third. Before an 8-2 spurt by the Spartans to end the third, Kerr-Vance went six minutes without a point.

"I felt like at halftime we were getting wrapped up in too much one-on-one offensively and not enough collective team defense," Tilley said. "I thought the press bothered them a lot in the third."

Thomas put his team back up 54-50 near the two-minute mark of the fourth, before Wright quickly answered with a deep, pull-up three. After two missed free throw chances, Briggs gave his team the lead back at 55-54 with another nice drive to the basket.

Oscar Ball pulled down a rebound after a miss on the Spartans' next possession, and all that stood between the Chargers and a chance to win proved to be foul shooting from that point. Unfortunately for the Chargers, they missed two front ends of one-and-one's in the final 30 seconds and left the door open for Thomas and Kerr-Vance.

After a sluggish first period by both teams, the Wayne Country Day women picked up their intensity on both ends in the second. A basket by Broadie capped an 11-4 run by the Chargers that gave them a 19-10 advantage. Still, the Spartans' Sarah Ferguson nailed a tough jumper at the buzzer to pull her team back to within three at 23-20 at intermission.

The Lady Chargers again looked poised to put away the visitors from Henderson as Mimi Bridgers dished off an assist to Broadie to put WCDS up 31-20 with 4:50 left in the third. The Kerr-Vance coach quickly called timeout as her team eventually scrapped back to get within one at 41-40 with three minutes left in the final period.

From there, Wayne Country Day regrouped and got back to the pressure defense that forced 23 turnovers on the game and controlled the last three minutes.

"Defense was the key tonight. We had a lot of points in that last quarter off of our defense," Taylor said. "The girls wanted the game and they showed it. Tiara really stepped up and was a leader tonight."