Faith Christian edges LA

Published 10:26 am Monday, January 7, 2013

 By Mike Williams


ROCKY MOUNT – Faith Christian School sophomore Zack Bryant canned a free throw with 6.1 seconds remaining on the clock giving the Patriots a hard fought 54-53 win over Lawrence Academy in a game played Thursday night.

The contest was a hastily arranged affair after both squads discovered a break in their respective schedules and agreed to a matchup to prevent rustiness before they commence conference play next week.

Bryant’s free throw capped off a Faith Christian comeback in which the Patriots trailed the majority of the contest including a 12-point first quarter deficit.

Lawrence’s man-to-man pressure defense forced the Patriots into eight first quarter turnovers. FCS took an early 2-0 lead on a James Turner hoop, but Darren Armstrong’s three-pointer and an inside bucket by Nathaniel Holton gave the Warriors a 5-2 lead.

With the score at 6-4 Lawrence with its height advantage then went on a 10-point run with all the scoring coming inside on a pair of Holton field goals and baskets by Armstrong, Nicholas Holton and Kyle Pendleton. Combined with the defense forcing miscue after FCS miscue Lawrence held a 16-4 lead at the 3:15 mark and looked capable of blowing the game open early.

The Patriots got behind the LA defense for a pair of late baskets along the baseline by Bryant and Dustin Hendricks, but Lawrence still heald a 20-12 lead after one period.

Turner’s three-pointer one minute into the second period cut the LA lead to 20-15, but Nicholas Holton’s follow shot and a steal and layup by Ryan Lilley pushed the Warrior advantage back to 24-16.

Faith cut the gap to 24-22 on a pair of Turner free throws with 3:15 remaining in the half, but Nathaniel Holton again scored inside and Pendleton’s two pointer with 31 seconds remaining in the half sent Lawrence to the halftime locker room clinging to a 31-24 advantage.

Faith Christian continued to chip away at the Warrior’s lead in the third period greatly aided by cold shooting from the floor by LA. In fact Lawrence Academy’s only field goal in the quarter was a jumper from the right baseline by Jesse White at the 4:53 mark.

With 2:10 to play in the period, a pair of Zack Bryant free throws gave Faith Christian their first lead at 35-34 since the game’s opening seconds. Nicholas and Nathaniel Holton each hit a free throw apiece to knot the score at 37 all entering the fourth quarter.

In that fourth and final period Faith Christian Matt Early scored his only basket of the contest at the 6:22 mark to give Faith Christian the lead for good at 39-37. Dustin Hendricks added a pair of free throws and a steal and layup as the Patriot lead ballooned to 43-37.

Lawrence kept pecking away, but was greatly hindered by paltry free throw shooting. The Warriors missed 12 free throws on the night including six in the crucial fourth quarter. Yet they were able to tie the tilt at 53 all with 29 seconds to play on a Jesse White three ball from the deep right corner.

Faith Christian then held the ball for a last shot until Bryant was fouled with six seconds left. The lanky sophomore missed his first one, but banked home his second shot.

Lawrence coach Jon Powell took a timeout to set up a last second shot and it almost worked as Nicholas Holton’s attempt rolled off the hoop as time expired.

Faith Christian placed three players in double figures led by Zack Bryant with 17. James Turner, despite suffered a head injury that sidelined him for a while in the second half added 13 and Dustin Hendricks chipped in with 11.

Nathaniel Holton led Lawrence with 13 while Jesse White and Nicholas Holton had nine each.