E.A. Sports Today

It’s Guthrie — again

White Plains guard caps big week with game-winning 3 in consolation final

By East Alabama Sports Today

FREEPORT, Fla. – Jerod Guthrie capped the biggest week of his young career with the biggest shot of the game.

The White Plains sophomore guard drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer Wednesday to give the second-ranked Wildcats a 41-38 victory over St. Paul’s in the consolation final of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Blowout at Freeport High School.

“I didn’t think that it was going in; I thought it was too far to the left,” Guthrie said. “It’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.”

He finished with 17 points.

The Wildcats (14-3) trailed by six with 2:52 to play, but scored on each of their last four possessions. Guthrie missed four free throws at 2:14 that would have cut the deficit to two, but in a weekend of atonement he made up for it moments later.

Murphy Doss’ bucket with 1:36 left made it 38-36. Guthrie tied the game with two free throws with 54 seconds to play, then won it with his 3-ball from right in front of the White Plains bench.

The play was supposed to go to Eli Hightower. He did get the ball, but two defenders moved on him, leaving Guthrie open and Hightower sharply found him in the right corner. Game over.

“We fought this thing tooth and nail,” Wildcats coach Chris Randall said. “It wasn’t ugly, it was physical. Both teams were patient because of the defense. Baskets were like touchdowns. Every time you got one, you wanted the band to play.”

They were playing a different kind of tune for Guthrie early in the trip. He didn’t react well in their tournament opener against undefeated Paxton (Fla.) and didn’t start the second game, but Randall said he “responded like a champ.”

Guthrie went for 22 and 21 points in the wins over Buckhorn (Ky.) and Pleasant Grove (Ala.), and, of course, got the Wildcats’ New Year’s Eve party started early Wednesday.

“I came back and played the way I needed to play,” Guthrie said. “What he did helped me overall. Coach Randall’s not going to change; I’ve got to do what makes him happy. It’s fun making him happy.”

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