Demarion Watson (0) of Totino-Grace shoots a three-pointer over defender Cody Pennebaker of Park Center in the first half. Watson had 17 points Friday night in Totino-Grace's victory. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
It would be foolish to ever think a basketball game was over with over 30 minutes of game time left.
But that’s what it felt like when Totino-Grace scored its first point, a free throw from Zy’lerre Stewart, with 12:37 left in the first half in a battle against No. 1-4A Park Center.
That made the game 15-1 in favor of the Pirates (12-2, 6-1), and Totino-Grace coach Nick Carroll took his first timeout a couple minutes later, down 17-3.
“Park Center’s such a tough, physical team. We knew if we could get settled into our stuff that we could get to decent action,” Carroll said. “We were just trying to tell them to trust what they do every day in practice.”
The Eagles' Tommy Humphries driving hard sends the Pirates' Ayouba Bethe to the floor during the first half of play Friday night. The Eagles gave the Pirates their first loss of the season winning 64-61. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
In a battle between two top teams in their respective classes, it was the top team from Class 3A, Totino-Grace, that was able to take down the top team from 4A, Park Center, 64-61.
The Pirates (12-1, 6-1) started the game with intense energy and jumped out to a 15-0 lead in under six minutes. They held a 12-point lead going into halftime, led by 17 first-half points from Braeden Carrington. He finished with a game-high 21.
The Eagles (10-2, 7-0) battled back in the second half, slowly eating away the deficit until they finally tied the game 54-54 with around three minutes left. A massive dunk by Demarion Watson gave them their first lead of the game with 2:52 left; they wouldn’t lose the lead from there.
Watson made a couple big threes down the stretch to help put away the Pirates. He finished the game with a team-high 17 points, adding in five rebounds and seven blocks. The Pirates still had a chance, down 62-61 with 46 seconds left, but they fouled Taison Chatman and he calmly buried both free throws. Park Center’s attempt at a game-tying buzzer-beater fell short.
The Pirates' Braeden Carrington (4) had a team high 21 points Friday night in the Pirates' first loss of the season losing 64-61 to the Eagles at Totino-Grace High School. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
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