Prep suffers stomach-turning loss in final seconds

Prep suffers stomach-turning loss in final seconds
February 04
00:00 2016
Photos by Craig T. Greenlee
Josiah Goodman of the Phoenix presses East Surry ball handler Garrett Wiloughby (12).



Growing pains.

These days, Winston-Salem Prep is learning some hard lessons in JV basketball. Case in point: a 50-44 home loss to East Surry last week.

This back-and-forth contest was up for grabs until the final minute of play. The outcome wasn’t so much about losing in the closing moments. From the Phoenix point of view, it was a strange turn of events that opened the door for defeat.

With just under 50 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter, Jalen Crawley of Prep drove to the basket and was fouled. He hit a pair of free throws to give the home team a 44-42 lead. As things turned out, it was the last time the Phoenix would put any points on the board.

After the free throws, the downward slide started for the Phoenix, when its best player, Tyren Hairston, fouled out. Since it was a non-shooting foul and Prep was not in the bonus, East Surry had to inbound the ball.

Prep, however, had a communication breakdown on defense. Austin Pardue took a cross-court pass and hit an uncontested 3-pointer from the right wing, which put the Cardinals on top for good at 45-44.

When the Phoenix inbounded the ball on the next possession, Colby Guy came up with a steal and scored on a lay-up to push the lead to 47-44 with 30.2 seconds remaining. Kot Bullington and Guy put the finishing touches on the rally with three more free throws to settle the issue.

“We didn’t do anything right tonight,” said coach Bill Tibbs of Winston-Salem Prep. “We couldn’t play defense, we couldn’t run our offense. We never put any pressure on the ball. That’s why they were able to run whatever they wanted to run. Plus, we missed a lot of our own shots, so that didn’t help any, either.”

Winston-Salem Prep (7-7, 4-2 Northwest Conference) managed to stay in contention in spite of the absence of starters Mike Montgomery and Jaden Matthews (out for personal reasons). As usual, Hairston, Crawley and Zachary Austin did the bulk of the scoring. Hairston led all scorers with 19 points. Crawley contributed 14 points and Austin finished with 10.

The most glaring problem for the Phoenix this season is sporadic defense. Prep did have some lock-down moments against East Surry. But for the most part, there were far too many instances when the Cardinals scored easy baskets off of back-door cuts and put-backs on the offensive glass.

Pardue was tops for East Surry with 14 points, followed by Bullington, who chipped in with 11.

With the final weeks of the JV season quickly approaching, it’s clear that Prep has no shot at posting a 20-win season as it has in recent years. Tibbs, however, isn’t complaining. He’s confident that his team will get back on track.

“This main issue with this team is that they don’t know how to win,” Tibbs explained. “We have only two people on the team who play summer basketball. Everybody is new and most are ninth-graders. They just haven’t learned how to win yet. But they will learn. We’ll just have to go back to the drawing board and keep working at it. We’ll be fine”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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