Eagles prevail in constantly narrow game
by Chris Byess
cbyess@cherokeetribune.com
December 16, 2012 12:55 AM | 1914 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WOODSTOCK — Though it took a period of overtime and a pair of clutch free throws from Jack Shaughnessy, Etowah scored its second victory of the season Saturday, beating visiting River Ridge 78-77 in a game that went down to the wire.

The fast pace was set early on in the contest, and it never relented as the teams swapped the lead 15 times in regulation.

Much of the night seemed to be a duel between Shaughnessy and River Ridge’s Nick Masterson, as the two hit shot after shot to keep the contest close.

With 22 seconds remaining in the fourth, it looked as if Masterson might have put the Knights (3-6) ahead for good with a 3-pointer to give them a 68-65 lead.

But Shaughnessy responded in kind by hitting a game-tying shot with just under 12 seconds remaining to keep the Eagles (2-5) alive and to send the game into overtime.

Once there, Etowah took a slight advantage and held a three-point lead with less than a minute to go.

River Ridge, however, struck twice, first on Masterson’s seventh 3-pointer of the night and then on a short jumper from Steven Spears to take a 76-75 lead.

With 6 seconds remaining, Etowah put the ball in the hands of Shaughnessy, who drove into the lane and drew a foul. He hit both free throws to put the Eagles ahead for good.

Masterson attempted to drive through Etowah’s defense for one final shot, but the ball was stripped from his hands, and it was judged to have hit his leg last on the way out of bounds, which enabled the Eagles to run the clock out.

Masterson finished the night with a game-high 28 points and made seven 3s.

Etowah coach Don Hurlburt felt the victory was a vital one for his young team, which has no seniors.

“We needed to win (Saturday),” he said. “We didn’t shoot that well, but the good news is that a group of underclassmen found a way to win. As a young team, they have to learn how to win tough games like this one, so (Saturday) was huge. I’m thrilled for our kids.”

Hurlburt also praised the efforts of Shaughnessy, who finished the game with a team-high 26 points and was 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.

“Jack is a money player. He’s a gamer,” Hurlburt said. “He an outstanding shooter that wants to take the big shots. I’m really proud of him.”

Free throws proved to be costly for River Ridge, which was only 16-for-26 from the line, whereas Etowah was 14-for-18.

Though he was disappointed with the loss, River Ridge coach Matt Bohon praised his team’s effort.

“I am very proud of my kids,” he said. “Our kids are playing very good basketball. They’re playing their hearts out. If we play that hard night in, night out, I’ll never be disappointed in my team.”

GIRLS BASKETBALL

 River Ridge 62, Etowah 51: After an even first half, the Lady Knights were able to slowly pull away in the last two quarters.

Though leading by only two entering the third, River Ridge (5-4) was able to capitalize on six Etowah turnovers to take a six-point lead into the fourth. From there, the Lady Knights were able to hang on for the win.

River Ridge coach Jason Taylor felt that it was River Ridge’s ability to score off of turnovers that produced the victory.

“We converted off of our turnovers (Saturday), which has been a problem for us in the past,” Taylor said.

The Lady Knights also benefited from another strong performance from senior Jordan Livesay, who totaled a game-high 21 points.

Shakyna Payne led Etowah (3-4) with 15 points.

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