Reynolds squeaks by North Davidson

Reynolds squeaks by North Davidson
February 12
00:00 2015
(Photo by Craig T. Greenlee, Above: Arion Broadnax (3) draws foul, then hits game-winning free throws for Reynolds.)

North Davidson had Reynolds on the ropes. The Demons blew a five-point lead on their home court late in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Knights to put together a frantic comeback to tie the game.

But with 1.2 seconds left to play, Arion Broadnax converted two free throws to give Reynolds a 63-61 win in Central Piedmont Conference junior varsity basketball on Tuesday, Feb. 3.

“We’ve lost games like this in the past because we took bad shots and made bad passes,” said Coach Mike Coker of Reynolds. “Tonight, we handled things very well near the end of the game. It didn’t help that we missed some free throws, but fortunately, we made enough foul shots to pull this one out.”

With 1:32 remaining, Reynolds (11-7, 4-5 CPC) appeared to have the control of the contest. Lemuel Gaither hit a pair of free throws to put the Demons up 60-55, but the lead didn’t last for long. North Davidson’s Juy Smith scored in the post, then stole the ball and scored again on a lay-up to force a 61-61 tie. Reynolds called time out with 10.2 seconds to go.

reynolds 2

Photo by Craig T. Greenlee- Christian Alford of Reynolds (in white) drives the baseline against North Davidson’s Jaelen Lanning.

On what proved to be the game’s decisive sequence, Broadnax scanned the Knights defense as he advanced the ball up-court. At the top of the key, he spotted an opening and attacked the basket from the left side. Broadnax missed the shot on the drive, but he drew contact and the foul. Both of his free throw attempts dropped cleanly through the nets.

North Davidson threw a long pass to its end of the court, but the Demons deflected the pass as the final buzzer sounded. Coker was relieved to come out with a victory, but also very encouraged by how his team responded when the game’s momentum seemed to be going in the Knights favor.

“From what I saw tonight, it lets me know that we’re on the same page,” said Coker. “When we’ve been in tight games earlier this season, we’d always settle for jump shots. Now they’re seeing that it’s better to force the action and take the ball to the basket and get easier shots. Even if you miss, you’re likely to get fouled, so you still have a chance to score by hitting free throws. Our guys played hard and they made good decisions.”

Point guard Ian Henderson, who finished with a game-high 21 points, delivered a solid floor game for the Demons. Xavier Coles scored 14 points and Broadnax chipped in with 10.

Smith was the top scorer for North Davidson with 17 points. J.D. Franklin contributed 16 points in a losing effort.

Throughout the game, neither team was able to fully impose its will. Reynolds built a five-point cushion near the end of the first half, but North Davidson’s Matthew Essick hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to trim the deficit and the Demons lead was reduced to 28-26 at intermission.

In the closing minutes of the third quarter, Reynolds turned up the defensive heat with its 2-2-1 press, which forced turnovers on three consecutive North Davidson possessions. During that span, the Demons closed with a 6-2 flurry to go up 42-38 by the end of the quarter.

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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