E.A. Sports Today

Cutting it close

Munford holds breath with three-tenths of a second left, edges B.B. Comer in matinee for latest winning record in at least seven seasons
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
MUNFORD – There were three-tenths of a second left on the clock. Munford coach Michael Easley didn’t think there was enough time for B.B. Comer to get up a shot and even if it did and made it he was pretty sure it wouldn’t have counted.
But in this state three-tenths of a second is enough time for anything to happen.
The dismissal bell had just rung letting out school but everyone still in Munford’s gym at the end of the in-school game held their breath as Comer’s Rapheale Johnson heaved a shot from three-quarters court as the game horn sounded. The ball had good air and a chance, but it hit the back iron and caromed away giving the Lions a 57-54 victory.
Had the shot gone it would’ve left both coaches the opposite emotion of what they felt at the end of the first half of Saturday’s Iron Bowl game when Auburn got a second and beat the clock with a 52-yard field goal to cut Alabama’s lead to 31-27. Auburn went on to win 48-45.
Easley is a big Auburn fan. Comer coach Michael Hale is a former Tide player who has brought the Nick Saban process to the Tigers.
“That was the last thing on my mind,” Hale said. “I just thinking maybe we’ll get a shot as a fluke. Oh, my gosh, it was inches away.”
“I knew he couldn’t do anything but tip it; I made sure with the official that he could only tip it,” Easley said. “I even asked the official after the game that it wouldn’t have counted if it went and he said it would not have. With three-tenths or under they can only tip it, they can’t actually catch it and get a shot off. Sports science or somebody determined that a long time ago.”
That didn’t keep the players from holding their breath. And in real time it looked like the shot might have beaten the clock.
The endgame scenario got created after Munford’s L.J. Flint missed two free throws with four-tenths left in a 57-54 game, Comer rebounded and called time immediately after corralling the ball off the rim. The horn had sounded, but the officials determined there was time remaining and put three-tenths of a second back on the clock.
Julius McCain inbounded it under the basket to Johnson, who immediately wheeled and let it fly.
“I thought we were probably going to overtime,” Munford senior forward Justin Sistrunk said.
The Lions were fortunate to win. They led by 12 when Jay Tuck hit the first basket of the second quarter, but Comer ran them down with lineup that Hale may consider using a lot more in the future and took a 31-30 halftime lead on James Carmichael’s bucket right before the horn.
The group of Johnson, Chris Garrett, Devonta Carmichael, James Carmichael and Korey Anderson forced several Munford turnovers that fueled a 19-5 run that gave the Tigers their first lead since the opening basket of the game.
Comer led 42-40 after three quarters, but Munford got back on track and opened a seven-point lead with four minutes to play. They were up six with 1:30 left, but Garrett got Comer within 55-54 on a 3-pointer with 37 seconds to play.
Munford’s Dwight Moore hit a pair of free throws with 29.6 left to make it 57-54 and set the wheels in motion for the final sequence.
Sistrunk led the Lions with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Conner Morgan scored 13, including four 3-pointers. Kam Sandlin, a B-team player brought up to restock the roster (five players missed the in-school activity for academic reasons), had nine points and seven rebounds. Comer’s Garrett led all scorers with 17 points.
“I told the kids I was very proud of them for just coming out and getting the win, but doing it shorthanded,” Easley said. “I told them at halftime, too, this win’s gonna feel a lot better knowing you did it shorthanded. The start was good, the first quarter was good, the fourth quarter was pretty good, in the middle I think fatigue caught up to us in the second quarter and I think we got a little lazy in the third, but regardless we came out and got the win. I’ll take it.”
Right after the game Easley bolted down to Auburn to watch his brother’s football team play in the Class 7A state championship game. Brad Easley is the receivers coach at Thompson.
The win puts the Lions 3-2 on the season and nearly halfway to their victory total of a year ago. They won their third game last year on Dec. 4, but this is the latest they’ve been over .500 in the seven seasons the AHSAA has archived.
“This means a lot,” Sistrunk said. “For the past couple of years Munford hasn’t really done anything in basketball. I think we’ve come a long way to right now. I think we’re looking pretty good.”

B.B. Comer won the girls game, 46-36.
Munford 57, B.B. Comer 54
B.B. COMER (1-8) –
Jamarion Seals 1 0-0 2, Rapheale Johnson 2 6-7 10, Devonta Carmichael 0 1-2 1, Alex Bearden 0 0-0 0, Julius McCain 3 1-2 7, James Carmichael 5 0-0 12, Korey Anderson 0 0-0 0, Chris Garrett 7 2-6 17, A.J. Cook 1 0-0 3, D.J. Jeffries 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 10-17 54.
MUNFORD (3-2) – Jeremiah Tipton 2 0-0 4, L.J. Flint 1 0-2 3, Justin Sistrunk 4 8-12 16, Jay Tuck 2 0-2 4, Dwight Moore 2 4-6 8, Conner Morgan 4 1-4 13, Kam Sandlin 4 1-1 9, Sylvester Smith 0 0-1 0. Totals 19 14-28 57.
B.B. Comer           8               23           11            12            –                54
Munford               18            12            10            17            –                57
3-point goals: B.B. Comer 4 (J. Carmichael 2, Garrett, Cook); Munford 5 (Flint, Morgan 4). Rebound leaders: B.B. Comer (Garrett 7); Munford (Sistrunk 14, Sandlin 7). Total fouls: B.B. Comer 24, Munford 15. Officials: Baker, Caldwell, Gamble.

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