E.A. Sports Today

Weaver’s ‘special moment’

Bearcats rally from 15 down in fourth quarter behind 2 freshmen, beat Faith by 13 in overtime

All games at Pete Mathews Coliseum, Jacksonville
Boys bracket
Friday’s game
No. 12 Ohatchee 76, No. 13 Donoho 56
Saturday’s games
No. 11 Weaver 71, No. 14 Faith Christian 58 (OT)
No. 10 Pleasant Valley 63, No. 15 Wellborn 37
No. 8 Jacksonville Christian 80, No. 9 Saks 73 (OT)
No. 5 Sacred Heart 66, Ohatchee 45
Monday’s games
Weaver vs. No. 6 Piedmont, 10:30 a.m.
Pleasant Valley vs. No. 7 Jacksonville, 1:30 p.m.
Sacred Heart vs. No. 4 Alexandria, 4:30 p.m.
JCA vs. No. 1 Oxford, 7:30 p.m. 

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
JACKSONVILLE – There have been some pretty incredible games in the 68 years of the Calhoun County Basketball Tournament, but Weaver’s come-from-behind shocker Saturday might be one they talk about for a long time.
The Bearcats rallied from 15 points down early in the fourth quarter and beat Faith 71-58 in overtime. That’s a 28-point swing in just under 12 minutes.
“It was a real special moment to come back like that,” Bearcats freshman Tristan Brown said. 
Weaver coach Marcus Herbert could recall only one other time in his experience, whether as a player or assistant coach – “and I’ve been here almost all my life,” – he’s been part of such a comeback, and that was a game as a player in which his team eventually lost in overtime.
The Bearcats trailed Saturday 44-29 after Faith’s Stephen Curlee hit two free throws with 6:59 left in the fourth quarter.
It’s important to note it was free throws that produced that biggest margin of the game, because the Lions didn’t hit many after that. 
Herbert rolled the dice with a foul-and-sub strategy at that point, and it paid off. If you put a team on the foul line and they score with the clock stopped, it can get real ugly real quick. If the team doesn’t make their shots, the team trying to catch up has a reasonable chance provided there’s time on the clock to work.

The Lions were 8-of-25 from the line in the fourth quarter and overtime, 7-of-23 in the fourth alone. At one point they missed 10 in a row and had another shot wave off for a lane violation.
“I’ve seen it happen to other people before, tonight we were those people,” Faith coach Justin Kisor said. “You’ve got to hit free throws down the stretch. We hit free throws we win. We didn’t hit free throws so we lost. It is what it is.”
It didn’t help the Lions lost one of their best free throw shooters and ball-handlers for a stretch after a hard fall or four of their five starters fouled out leaving the most critical segment of the game in the hands of capable but less experienced reserves. The only two free throws they had in the extra session came with 3:08 left when they made one of two to tie the game at 56.
Faith’s C.J. Gomez retied it at 58 with 2:23 to play, then Weaver scored the last 13 points of the game. When Gomez fouled out with 1:26 to go it signaled the beginning of the end for the Lions. Gomez led all scorers with 31 points.He also had 14 rebounds.
“Oh my God, it’s amazing, man,” Herbert said. “That’s what we’ve been looking for all year long. We’ve been in games and we’d fall apart in the end. The kids persevered and they kept fighting and I’m so proud of them. It’s just amazing and they can see now they can actually play when they play together (and) they can do a lot of things.”
It was a pair of freshmen Killer Bs who led the Bearcats back – Brown and Armane Burton. Brown had 19 points and Burton had 20, but they brought more than points to the equation.
“They’re going to be very special,” Herbert said of the two freshmen. “As long as they keep working, stay on their grades, man, oh my God, they’re going to grow … It was just special seeing these kids, how they took control of the game, how they shot it down the stretch, made free throws, it’s just huge.
“On a stage like this … not many schools around the state get to play at a coliseum like this, but these kids didn’t think about that. They just went out and played basketball.”
The game was tied 13 times through the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter. After Kisor challenged them in a timeout the Lions went on a 18-3 run to take the biggest lead of the game early in the fourth quarter.
That’s when Herbert went to the sub-and-foul strategy and got it to an 11-point game entering the fourth quarter. The Bearcats, meanwhile, were hitting their free throws – they were 10-of-15 in the fourth – and finally retied it on a bucket by Burton with five seconds left in regulation.
“It blows me away a lot,” Burton said. “Just the effort that we put in to get us back. It really was very exciting. We put on a good show for the crowd. That was a very incredible game.”
Weaver now plays sixth-seeded Piedmont, an area rival, Monday at 10:30 a.m.

Weaver 71, Faith Christian 58 (OT)
Quinton Blackerby 1 0-0 2, Brendyn Knight 5 7-11 17, Kohl Perry 0 1-2 1, Buck McGregor 0 0-0 0, Jackson Williams 3 2-3 8, Armane Burton 6 8-11 20, Taylor Thompson 1 0-0 2, Tristian Brown 6 7-8 19, Joey Bolan 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 25-35 71.
FAITH CHRISTIAN – C.J. Gomez 11 7-13 29, Josh Rutledge 0 0-2 0, Nick Goodgame 0 1-3 1, Thomas Curlee 1 8-9 10, Ethan Richerzhagen 5 4-5 15, Stone Huie 0 0-0 0, Bradie Dodson 0 2-4 2, Jacques Prater 0 1-2 1, Colton Pahman 0 0-2 0. Totals 17 23-36 58.
Weaver                         8   11  10    26   16  –  71
Faith Christian           8   11  21    15   3    –  58
3-point goals: Faith (Richerzhagen). Fouled out: Thompson, Gomez, Rutledge, Curlee, Richerzhagen, Huie. Total fouls: Weaver 28, Faith 28. Officials: Shirey, Brown, Dukes.

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