Back and forth
Special to the Tribune
Tuesday night, the Whittell Warrior boys basketball team (10-7 overall, 6-1 in the division) held on in a thrilling comeback victory against the Sierra Lutheran Falcons (10-6 overall, 3-2 in the division) in a game that came down to a 3-point attempt that failed to fall for the Falcons as time expired.
Sierra Lutheran started the game hot jumping out to an 8-1 lead. Whittell appeared to be rushing their shots.
After a timeout the Warriors made a few corrections and had a late surge, bringing the score to 10-5 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter the shots started falling for Whittell; including critical 3-pointers by Sam Berry and Corey Huber. The defense tightened holding Sierra Lutheran to 10 points in the quarter with a great team effort leading to several turnovers. Whittell out scored the Falcons 12-10 in the quarter bringing the score to 17-20 at the half.
After the half, Whittell continued the pressure and took the lead with 4:11 left in the quarter after critical 3-pointers by Nic Buchholz and Trent Dingman. The Warriors grew their lead with transition buckets off turnovers. Whittell ended the quarter with a 30-28 lead.
In the fourth quarter both Whittell and Sierra Lutheran traded baskets and turnovers leading to a fast-paced final quarter, until Whittell slowed it down with a six-point lead and 2 minutes left.
Sierra Lutheran capitalized off a couple Whittell turnovers and missed shots, scoring the last four points. Sierra Lutheran fouled Corey Huber with 4 seconds left being down 40-38. Huber missed the free throw. Sierra Lutheran then grabbed the rebound and advanced the ball past mid court before putting up a 3-point shot that bounced off the front of the rim as time expired. The game ended in favor of Whittell with a final score of 40-38.
“It’s good to win in a game against a good team when we didn’t play smart,” said Phil Bryant, Whittell head coach. “Our players need to have better clock management and score awareness. We will take the win and get back to practice to fix some of the mistakes that were made.”
Whittell was led by Huber (10 points, one assist, four steals), Dismas Womack (eight points, six rebounds, two steals), Buchholz (eight points, one rebound, one steal), as well as a solid defensive effort by Caleb Moretti and Troy Libbert by holding one of the league-leading scorers, Zane Warkenten ( 22.5 points per game), to nine points.