E.A. Sports Today

Faith rally falls short

UPDATED with late result

Lions come from 16 down in the fourth to get close before clock runs out on them

Faith Christian's Jordan Griswould extends his reach to get to the basket against Jefferson Christian. On the cover, Jameson Adams (5) looks to find the open man against the pressure of Austin Colvin. (Photos by Carey Jenkins)

Faith Christian’s Jordan Griswould extends his reach to get to the basket against Jefferson Christian. On the cover, Jameson Adams (5) looks to find the open man against the pressure of Austin Colvin. (Photos by Carey Jenkins)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Faith Christian staged a furious rally from 16 points down in the fourth quarter, but the clock ran out on it in the end.

The Lions fell to Jefferson Christian 56-54 in a Monday matinee.

They trailed 51-35 early in the fourth, but fought back to get within two twice in the final 30 seconds.

Jameson Adams’ layup drew the Lions within 54-52 with 25.4 seconds to play. Steven Gordon hit two free throws with 13.8 seconds left to push the lead back to 56-52. Faith junior Jordan Griswould’s basket with six seconds left made it 56-54, but the ball got loose under the Lions’ basket and the clock was allowed to expire.

“When the ball went through the net there were seven seconds left and their guy just threw the ball on the back side in the five-second count,” Faith coach Brad Yarbrough said. “There should’ve been at least one second (left). I thought that was kind of mismanaged a little bit, but it is what it is.”

The news was a lot better several hours later when the Lions learned Appalachian defeated Donoho 77-58 to break a three-way tie for second in Class 1A Area 12. Now, the Lions and Ragland will play as the 2 and 3 seeds, while Donoho falls into a play-in game with Appalachian for the right to face top-seeded Sacred Heart.

There likely will be a coin flip to determine the second and third seeds, but that’s just a formality to determine who’s the “home” team in that tournament game hosted by Sacred Heart.

“It’s just nice to take that coin flip out of the equation,” Yarbrough said Tuesday morning. “The best thing is it doesn’t have to come down to that to see who gets that fourth spot.”

The Lions plugged in their press when they got behind 16 and it sparked the rally. They scored nine straight points before JCA called time and then temporarily stopped with the run with a run-out dunk by J.T. Turner.

JCA missed the front end of three one-and-ones in the final minute, but rebounded the third one that turned into Gordon’s key free throws.

“I’m proud of the way we battled back and never gave up on it,” Yarbrough said. “You get your back against the wall, they have no choice but to fight their way out. We dug ourselves a hole and did it to ourselves.”

Griswould scored 14 of his team-high 21 in the fourth quarter for Faith. Caleb McCord had 13, 10 in the second half. Adams scored all six of his points in the second half.

“The fourth quarter we were just trying to be more aggressive and … do everything we could so we could make a run,” Adams said. “We’ve come back in games down 10 or so before, but we’ve never done it from 16. I thought we could come back from 16, I just wasn’t sure if we would, but I knew we could.”

JCA’s Phillip Lester led all scorers with 27. He hit seven 3-pointers. Gordon had 13.

Jefferson Christian 56, Faith Christian 54

JCA (12-7) – J.T. Turner 2 0-0 4, Steven Gordon 5 3-7 13, Phillip Lester 10 0-1 27, Brandon Givan 0 0-0 0, Bryant Crain 0 0-0 0, Ethan Williams 0 0-0 0, Austin Colvin 1 0-0 3, Jamal Taylor 1 0-0 2, Braxton Baird 3 0-0 7. Totals 22 3-8 56.

FAITH – Jack Sills 3 0-0 6, Caleb McCord 5 0-0 13, Jordan Griswould 9 1-4 21, Jake Balmer 0 0-0 0, Jameson Adams 3 0-2 6, David Wall 1 0-0 3, Michael Kulick 0 0-0 0, James Thacker 0 0-0 0, Alex Taylor 2 0-0 5, Julien Key 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 1-6 54.

JCA 8 19 17 12 — 56
Faith 9 11 12 22 — 54

3-point goals: JCA 9 (Lester 7, Colvin, Baird); Faith 7 (McCord 3, Griswould 2, Wall, Taylor). Total fouls: JCA 13, Faith 13. Officials: Burroughs, Batey, Winn.

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