MATHISTON – The Ethel boys basketball team never gave up after trailing by 16 points at one time to East Webster.
Markie Johnson hit a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds to go to give the Tigers a 46-43 victory over the Wolverines on Tuesday night.
Johnson was thrust into the starting lineup when the regular starting point guard Bobby Potts was unable to play due to a death in the family.
It was only the 8th grader's second time to play in a high school game.
"The 3-pointer by Johnson was clutch," Ethel head coach Corey Parish said. "We called timeout to hopefully run all the time off and he stepped in with 20 seconds left and pulled it. He had confidence in himself and knocked it down."
The Wolverines left Johnson wide open when they switched on a pick and had a lack of communication.
"That was a big three," East Webster principal and associate head coach Bill Brand said. "We had some confusion. We went man on the out of bounds because we were afraid of the 3-point shot. We switched off and didn't hear the switch and left him wide open for the 3-point shot. That's pretty good for an 8th grader to knock that shot down."
The Wolverines led 20-4 after the first quarter thanks to a 16-2 run to end the quarter. The Tigers limited East Webster to only four points in the second quarter and did not go away.
The Tigers cut the Wolverine lead down to seven going into halftime at 24-17.
"We got down 20-4 and we never gave up," Parish said. "They fought back and kept their composure and just chipped away a little at a time."
The Tigers opened up the second half on 10-2 run to take the lead at 27-26. The two teams traded baskets for the rest of the third quarter and the Wolverines regained the lead at 31-29 heading into the final frame.
The Wolverines lead by as many as six points in the fourth quarter, but did shut the door.
"We didn't handle the pressure very well and they knocked down shots," Brand said. "We gave them too many open shots and they made them. Things go wrong and that's basically what happened tonight."
The Tigers finished the game strong defensively and Parish noticed.
"Defense is what won it for us by far," he said. "We played a heck of a defensive ball game."
Ethel was led by Johnson's 18 points.
Charles Guyton led the Wolverines with 15 points. East Webster fell to 3-8 for the year. They will be back in action on Thursday when they play Montgomery Count in its tournament.
East Webster 47,
MATHISTON – The Lady Wolverines led for most of the game and found a way to complete the victory.
East Webster out-lasted Ethel 47-40.
The Lady Wolverines only gave up 11 points in the final quarter and head coach Mandy Fondren was glad to see her team finish a game strong.
"We did pretty good," Fondren said of her defense. "We have been struggling to close the door, but my girls did really well tonight."
The Lady Wolverines jumped out to a 6-0 lead to open the ball game and took a 12-8 lead into the second quarter.
Ethel opened the second quarter on 6-0 run to take the lead at 14-12. That was the only lead the Lady Tigers held.
East Webster used a 6-0 run to take the lead back and it never relinquished it.
Rita Johnson scored the first 10 points for the Lady Tigers, but she fouled out with 2:15 remaining in the ball game. The Lady Tigers were within single digits when she collected her fifth foul.
"I was excited," Fondren said of Johnson fouling out. "She pulled up from half court and could make shots. It was good to see her go."
Freshman Quantesha Patterson led East Webster with 16 points. Fondren knows how important she is to the team.
"She probably leads us in scoring every night," she said. "She is a real good player."
Johnson led all scorers and the Lady Tigers with 23 points.
Katesha Dear added nine points for the Lady Wolverines, who improved to 6-7 this year. East Webster will be back in action January 10 when they travel to Ackerman.