Austin distributes the ball in win
By Josh Cooper
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With about three minutes left in the fourth quarter of Austin's 78-70 victory over Bob Jones, Jay Sears corralled the ball at mid-court.
With nobody in between him and the basket and the Black Bears up 67-55 Sears cracked a little smile as he tried to think of what kind of bizarre windmill spin-o-rama dunk he was going to use.
Instead he just went for the normal two-handed jam.
"I was thinking of a trick I could do," Sears said. "It feels good to win as a team. We were ready to play."
The dunk was a singular moment in an otherwise exhibition in teamwork by Austin.
Five players finished in double digits, led by Verkeneo Mann with 15. George Williams and Sears each had 14, and Jay Watkins and Travis Cohn chipped in with 10 each.
"Our team played a very unselfish game," said Austin coach Demond Garth.
"That's all we've been talking about, playing for 32 minutes."
Leading up to playing Bob Jones, Austin (14-10) had lost four straight games to a lineup that included Decatur, Buckhorn, Sparkman and Huntsville. Its last win came against Florence on Jan. 9.
But Austin rode an offensive outburst, starting with a 19-10 first quarter lead and keeping the Patriots at bay with a 40-32 halftime advantage.
Bob Jones clawed its way back by outscoring Austin 19-15 in the third quarter. Part of the advantage was a 7-0 run where Chris Caudle nailed a 3-point basket and threw down an emphatic dunk.
Garth, changed his strategy in the fourth quarter by having his players attack the basket more.
The result was Austin getting to the free throw line for 15 attempts and hitting nine of them.
The Black Bears also made several situational stops to go on an 11-0 run from 6:05 until 2:45 of the fourth.
Part of the excessive amount of free-throws had to do with Bob Jones strategy near the end of fouling the Black Bears.
Despite a 14-point lead for Austin with 2:22 remaining, the Patriots forced some turnovers after the Black Bears tried to play a little more conservatively to milk the clock.
After a 3-point basket by Caudle, with 15 seconds left, the Patriots were back by six points at 76-70.
But that was the closest Bob Jones would get in the final minute as Austin hit two free throws while the Patriots didn't muster any points.
"It was a relief," Garth said. "Our guys were playing hard, but there is nothing like winning."
Caudle led the Patriots with 13 points.
Wayne Wright added 12.
Bob Jones girls 65, Austin 47: Bob Jones road a 12-2 run at the start of the third quarter and outscored the Lady Black Bears 34-17 in the second half to move to 25-3 on the season.
The Lady Patriots used slick shooting from Kellie and Kylie Cook — 15 and 12 points, respectively — and a strong post game from Lauren Young, who finished with 12.
"In the third quarter, they came out and made a little run," Austin coach Bruce Hamilton said. "We didn't execute offensively and gave up some easy baskets."
Jazmine Powers led the Lady Black Bears (13-14) with 15 points, while Shanise and Shara Foster chipped in with seven each.
Nikkia Jordan also finished with seven.
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