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SATURDAY, JANUARY 6, 2007
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Austin victim
of mistake,
Bob Jones

Black Bears fall in
overtime on the road

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com 340-2462

MADISON — Ahead by a point with 20.3 seconds to play, all Austin High had to do was inbound the ball and let the clock run.

Instead, a bewildering turnover on an inbounds pass, and a stunning 3-pointer by Bob Jones sent the Black Bears to a 72-70 overtime defeat Friday night in the Patriots' gymnasium.

After battling back from a 14-point, third-quarter deficit, Austin had chances at the end of regulation and again at the end of overtime to put Bob Jones away. But key mistakes by a young team left the door slightly ajar, and Bob Jones took advantage.

To end regulation, Verkeneo Mann missed an open jumper, and George Williams' putback attempt missed as well.

Then, with 20.3 seconds left in overtime, Bob Jones' Dion Mathis hit a 5-footer to cut Austin's lead to 70-69. The Patriots immediately called a timeout.

Austin head coach Demond Garth drew up a play, then watched in shock as the execution was less than perfect. The inbounds pass went over the top of the defense and out of bounds.

Yet, the Black Bears (11-6, 1-2 Class 6A, Area 16) still owned the lead.

After another Bob Jones timeout, the Patriots (7-7, 2-1) inbounded the ball, then got it to Scott Proffitt, who drilled a 3-pointer in front of the home bench to give Bob Jones its first lead in extra time.

"It was miscommunication," Garth said, taking the blame. "We made a mistake, but still, we needed that stop."

With 2.9 seconds remaining, Austin still had a chance, but Jay Sears' mid-court shot bounded harmlessly off the glass and back onto the floor.

"We turned it over too many times," Bob Jones head coach Danny Petty said. "It's amazing we had an opportunity to come back and pull it out."

For Sears, the miss capped an otherwise stellar night — an inspired one at that. The senior played nearly the entire game because Austin didn't have two players, including one injured and one sick. Sears finished with 22 points despite leaving the game late with dehydration. "The first half, he willed us," Garth said. "Travis (Cohn) was in foul trouble, and Jay really put the team on his back."

Sears scored 13 of Austin's 18 third-quarter points, and his layup with 5:05 to play in the fourth quarter gave Austin the lead after the Black Bears fell behind by 14 in the third quarter after a 13-0 Bob Jones' run to begin the second half.

Sears received help from Cohn and Mann, both of whom got hot in the third quarter, combining for five 3-pointers to put Austin back in the game. Cohn finished with 15 points, and Mann added 19.

But in the end, Austin couldn't stop Bob Jones. Proffitt finished with 14 points, Chris Caudle added 15, including an electrifying steal and dunk, and Terry Randle scored 21 points, mostly from the lane.

"We came out flat after halftime," Garth said. "And (Randle), we didn't have an answer for him."

Bob Jones girls 66, Austin 48: The Lady Black Bears shot 25.4 percent from the floor, including 18.8 percent from 3-point range, and yet was still in the game as late as 4:20 to play in the third quarter.

At that point, Austin (10-9, 1-2) trailed only 35-33.

However, the Lady Patriots, using their size and pressure defense, went on a 16-3 run to end the quarter and hopes of Austin.

"We were going to try to pressure them into playing a fast and careless game," Austin head coach Bruce Hamilton said. "It was a tall order."

Nikkia Jordan led Austin with 17 points and five steals, and Chasity Stover added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Every player on Bob Jones' roster scored, paced by Kellie Cook's 20 points and six rebounds and Brittany Manning's 11 points and six boards.

At halftime, Austin trailed 31-25 after being down by as many as 10 points in the first quarter.

Bob Jones (19-3, 2-1) went cold to begin the third quarter, and Austin took advantage. Jazmine Powers drilled a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 35-28, then China McDaniel hit a layup after a Bob Jones miss.

Jordan's 3-pointer with 4:30 to go in the third gave Austin hope. And then Cook heated up.

She hit three free throws, a layup, a 12-footer and an 18-footer to end the quarter. By then, the game was all but over.

"We felt pretty good at halftime," Hamilton said. "Kellie Cook did a good job for them in that stretch."

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