Eagles win consolation

Published 9:16 pm Monday, March 9, 2015

AHOSKIE – He was on his game when they needed him most.

Scoring his team’s final nine points, junior guard Alex Lanier hit the game-winning shot – a three-pointer – with 59 seconds left, then drained a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining to seal it as Bethel Assembly Christian Academy topped Gramercy Christian School here 41-37 for third place in the state tournament held Saturday at the Ahoskie Christian School gym.

Lanier led all scorers with 15 points while senior Trey Hoggard, playing in the final game of his outstanding prep career, scored 12.  Hoggard had been shut-out on the score sheet on Friday, but vowed to bounce back.

Josh Flewwellin was the only Warriors player in double-figures with 10 points.

After trailing for most of the game, Gramercy came back to tie the score tied at 35-all.  BACA coach Mark Hoggard then called timeout with 1:27 left to set up a play.  With the clock winding down, Lanier, who’d scored all but two of the Eagles’ fourth quarter points found himself open on the edge of the three-point line.  The diminutive guard stepped back behind the line and let fly an arching jumper that hit nothing but net.  38-35, Bethel.

Ball game.

“It was just like we drew it up,” said a smiling Coach Hoggard after the game. “(point guard Josh) Bunch was to drive, Trey and Alex were stationed on the wings with my big guys down low.  A screen and a quick kick-out pass freed him (Lanier) up, and he just nailed it.”

Though Gramercy scored with six seconds left, they fouled Lanier on the in-bounds play.  He calmly made both free throws for a three-point margin, assuring his team of the third-place finish and a 20-win season.

“That’s what means the most to my seniors,” Hoggard added. “Those guys get to go out with 20 wins after having such a tough time last year.  They did a great job and I’m proud of them.”

Trey Hoggard, who admitted his being shutout in the Friday loss to Trinity Christian of Greenville had fired him up for the third-place game, got a lay-up underneath the basket for Bethel’s first points and a 2-0 lead to open the contest. Matthew Neil then nailed a pair of free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt and it was 4-0, Eagles.  Gramercy, in their half-court offense, got a pair of lay-ups to tie the game and then took a two-point lead with a pair of foul shots.  However, the Warriors were scoreless the remainder of the quarter as Hoggard scored four of Bethel’s final six for a 10-6 lead for the Askewville crew after the first period of play.

Hoggard and Lanier scored early in the second quarter upping the Eagle lead to eight, 14-6.  Gramercy continued their deliberate pace and pulled within three at 14-11.  But with foul trouble and poor shooting plaguing the Tigers, Bethel got six unanswered to go to 19-11 before a Gramercy free throw narrowed the margin to 19-12 at the mid-break.

Bethel came into the second half still in command, never letting their lead fall below five points, but still allowing Gramercy to remain close.  Hoggard got a lay-up and the Tigers made two-of-four foul shots to leave them just seven in the hole, 29-22, going into the fourth quarter.

Bunch hit a jump shot, sandwiched between a pair of three-pointers and a lay-up by Gramercy got the Tigers back within a point, 31-30, with 5:40 left.  Lanier drove to make it 33-30 before Gramercy tied it, and the fireworks began.

Bethel         10   9   10  12    41

Gramercy     6   6   10  15    37

Bethel:  A. Lanier-15, T. Hoggard-12, T. Davidson-5, M. Neil-4, B. Williams-3, J. Bunch-2.

Gramercy:   J. Flewwellin-10, D-Cottingham-8, G. Terry-8, J. Sayger-6, J. Price-3, J. Tucker-2.