LA lads win Part II

Published 1:28 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2012

MERRY HILL – It was the ‘Battle of Bertie – Part Deux’.

And, in the end, Lawrence Academy needed an extra period, but still avenged their earlier loss in Askewville from December and eased past Bethel Christian Academy 71-70 in overtime Tuesday night.

If you count in the season opener in the Lt. Nick Brantley Tournament played in Merry Hill, and won by the Warriors, Lawrence wins the season series, two games to one.

But Bethel prefers to think of it as a split.

“Point-wise, we won,” said Eagles coach Tommy Tripp, “but they did win twice, so hat’s off to them.”

“We beat them (in) the beginning of the year, they won at their place, and we won back here,” said Lawrence coach, Jon Powell, “so a win’s always good.”

In the end, young Anthony Rascoe capped a 23-point scoring night by sinking a pair of free throws in overtime with 30 seconds left.  Despite a late three-pointer from leading scorer, Shane Tripp, the Warriors won to clinch their tenth win of the year.

In addition to Rascoe, Chase Stevens also scored in double-figures with 20; including a clutch layup in the overtime period. Darren Armstrong had nine points and Blake Stevens tallied eight.

Tripp led all scorers with 24 while Adam Fairless poured in 13 and Kyle Freemen put up a dozen.  Trey Hoggard had nine, with eight chipped in from Daniel Fehr.

“Our young kids stepped up,” said Powell. “Anthony’s been coming along all season and we knew he could do it, and tonight he did.

“Of course Chase had a good game too,” he added.  “They all did exactly what we asked them to do and we held on in the end.”

In the beginning it was Bethel holding the lead. Tripp and Fehr scored layups to stake the Eagles to a 6-0 lead before Lawrence broke the ice.

It was 13-9, Bethel when it began to rain three-pointers. Armstrong busted one to get the Warriors within one, but Tripp answered back.

Chase Stevens then launched one from behind the crooked line only to see Freeman match his. Rascoe finished with the quarter’s final trey and the period ended in an 18-18 tie.

It was tied at 20 in the second quarter when Bethel went on a run and built their biggest lead of the game, 27-20.

But Lawrence stepped up the defense by extending their zone, effectively shutting down Tripp and Freeman while outscoring the Eagles, 14-7.

When Nathaniel Holton scored underneath and added a free throw, Lawrence had its first lead of the night, 34-32.

Chase Stevens and Rascoe added two more field goals while Bethel could only muster a free throw and the half ended with the Warriors ahead by three, 38-35.

Lawrence bulged their lead to 10 points three times in the third quarter thanks to a seven-point outburst from Rascoe. They led it 54-44 before Bethel began to chip away.

The Eagles got a big boost when Jesse White fouled out with 20 seconds left and by limiting Lawrence to just one field goal during a 7-2 Bethel run.  It reduced the deficit to five headed into the fourth quarter, 56-51.

Bethel erased that quickly by scoring the first six points of the fourth. Fairless collected four of those points on a layup and a jump shot while Tripp’s reverse layup underneath wowed the crowd and sent the Eagles back into the lead.

But from there the lead swung back and forth.

Blake Stevens staked Lawrence to their last lead in regulation, 63-61, on a three-pointer, but Tripp was fouled with a minute left and his deuce from the charity stripe tied it at 63-all.

Both teams had shots to win it in the final minute, but misfired and that sent the contest to overtime.

In the first Lawrence possession of the four-minute extra period, Armstrong drained a short jump shot at the top of the free throw circle, but Hoggard answered with a layup, tying the score again.

On the next play Armstrong was fouled, but missed both free throws.  He made up for it seconds later off a Bethel turnover by draining another jump shot only to see Fehr match it at the Eagles’ end.

Coach Tripp called a timeout with a minute and a half to go, but Chase Stevens scored out of the break to put Lawrence ahead for good.  Powell then put the game in the hands of his guards, Rascoe and Ryan Lilley.

Rascoe was fouled and made the two foul shots upping Lawrence’s lead to four, 71-67, with under a minute to play.  Bethel caught a break when Lawrence fouled on the next play, but the free throws were missed.

Lawrence fared no better at their end, but with 17 seconds left, Tripp’s three-pointer made it a one-point game.  Lawrence was fouled quickly, but missed the one-and-one.  Bethel had one last chance, but a three-point shot clanged off the iron.

“I thought they showed a lot of heart coming from 10 points back,” mused coach Tripp.  “We had a chance to win in regulation – and in overtime – but didn’t make that one either.

“Tonight,” he said with a shrug, “we were just one point short.”

Lawrence (10-15) closes their regular season with two more home games this week: hosting Tarheel Independent Conference (TIC) rival, Ridgecroft, on Thursday and Albemarle just one night later.