E.A. Sports Today

Wellborn rally slays Lions

Panthers score first 19 points of second half to take the lead, then seal victory with late free throws

Faith Christian's Jack Sills (R) moves in to contest the shot of Wellborn's Eric Johnson during Friday's game. (Photo by Carey Jenkins)

Faith Christian’s Jack Sills (R) moves in to contest the shot of Wellborn’s Eric Johnson during Friday’s game. (Photo by Carey Jenkins)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jordan Angle has been known to do some crazy things to motivate his Wellborn basketball team this season, but there was no special gimmick at the root of the Panthers’ comeback Friday night.

Wellborn closed out the regular season with a come-from-behind 79-68 victory over Faith Christian that spoiled the Lions’ Senior Night. The Panthers scored the first 19 points of the third quarter to erase a seven-point halftime deficit, then sealed the victory by making seven straight free throws in the final 50 seconds after the Lions got within six.

Among the things Angle has done this year is leaving his team to its own devices in the late stages of a game and simply leaving them alone to make their own lineup and game plan before showing up on the bench a few minutes before tip-off. There was none of that on this day. He just simply laid it on the line.

“He just told us how we were going to have to go out there and play for each other, play for our team,” tired Panthers junior Jordan Montgomery said. “We have an outstanding coach. He’ll back us up for anything. He just told us how proud he was through the whole thing and how we just had to keep it together and control the whole game so we could come out with the W.”

The Lions, playing without injured Jordan Griswould (knee), used a big second quarter by Caleb McCord to build their halftime lead. McCord scored 24 of his 32 points in the first half on a slightly gimpy ankle, 18 in the second quarter.

He scored their last 11 points of the half, the last nine of 3-pointers, including one just before the buzzer to produce a 41-34 lead.

But Wellborn came out for the second half and Mitchell Raines’ 3-pointer touched off a 19-0 run that wasn’t broken until Faith’s Jameson Thacker scored with 1:11 left in the quarter. The Panthers (4-14) hit three 3-pointers in the run — Raines at the start, Montgomery’s in the middle and Blake Hanson’s at the end — and continually got behind the Faith defense for some easy backside layups. It took them from being down 41-34 to leading 53-41.

“I thought with my 3-pointer I kind of got the team going,” Raines said. “With one 3 comes another, so with mine started it off.”

Jack Sills’ two free throws with 1:28 to play brought Faith back to 72-66 before Wellborn closed it out from the line. Montgomery hit four straight free throws, Raines made two and Montgomery made the first of two to close the scoring.

“Just pressure shots,” Montgomery said. “We practice them every day. Coach tells us how free throws win games, big free throws definitely win games like the won we just won … I just thank God that I sunk them.”

Montgomery led Wellborn with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Raines had 18 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Quandarious Moore had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Blake Hanson had 12 points and 12 boards before fouling out with 3:44 to play.

“It wasn’t too crazy in here today,” Angle said. “We’ve got a good group of kids and it’s hard for me to not brag on them in situations like this. I do some quirky things, but these guys came in here at halftime and they committed to each other to go out and win the ballgame.

“There was a group of kids there who had it in their mind that they were going to go out and win the game. I tell them all the time there’s one thing I can’t coach and it’s effort and you saw a lot of effort out there in that third quarter.”

Faith coach Brad Yarbrough would’ve liked to seen a better effort from his team in the third quarter. After such a strong first half, the Lions were outscored 19-4 in the third.

“It was almost like we didn’t leave the locker room,” Yarbrough said. “We left our intensity in the locker room. We relaxed a little bit; you relax, you give people a chance. They just wanted it more than we did tonight.”

Sills had 19 for Faith, 11 in the fourth quarter.

Wellborn 79, Faith Christian 68

WELLBORN (4-14) — D.J. Rhoden 0 0-0 0, Mitchell Raines 7 3-7 18, Eric Johnson 1 1-1 3, Quin Moore 7 2-2 17, Jordan Montgomery 6 6-8 21, Jaylin Kelley 4 0-0 8, Blake Hanson 3 5-6 12. Totals 28 17-24 79.

FAITH CHRISTIAN — Jack Sills 7 5-13 19, Caleb McCord 14 0-4 32, Jameson Adams 1 0-0 2, David Wall 0 0-0 0, Grant Martin 0 0-0 0, Michael Klick 0 0-0 0, Jameson Thacker 1 0-0 2, Alex Taylor 4 2-5 13. Totals 27 7-22 68.

Wellborn 19 15 19 26 — 79
Faith Christian 16 25 4 23 — 68

3-point goals: Wellborn 6 (Raines, Moore, Montgomery 3, Hanson); Faith 7 (McCord 4, Taylor 3). Fouled out: Hanson, McCord. Total fouls: Wellborn 19, Faith 18. Officials: Batey, Strott, Kelley.

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