MATHISTON – It took an intentional foul late in the fourth quarter for the Eupora High School boys' basketball team to beat East Webster.
The Eagles managed to sneak out of Mathiston Tuesday night with a 51-49 win.
With less than 4 seconds remaining in the game. Derrick Jones of Eupora pulled down a rebound. In attempt to send him to the free-throw line, Charles Guyton of East Webster fouled him in a way the referees deemed an intentional foul.
Jones knocked down one shot and with 0.3 seconds remaining the Eagles got the ball back and ran out the clock.
"That fourth quarter was a dog fight," Eupora head coach Bryant Thomas said. "As long as my kids kept fighting, I kept believing in them and I never doubted that we could get out of here with a win."
The Eagles jumped out to an early lead as they entered the second quarter leading 19-4.
However, the Wolverines did not go away and made a game of it the for the other three quarters.
"We just got a slow start," East Webster head coach Corey Stidham said. "We let them get up 15, 16. I told them we just have to fight it off a little bit at a time. That first quarter they out-hustled us, they got loose balls, and they got offensive boards. Things that we can not let happen for us to win basketball games. We have to have all loose balls, all rebounds, and things like that. We have to do all the little things. And we let them do that the first quarter. We took care of that the other three quarters, but we have to play four quarters to win a basketball game."
Getting a big lead and not being able to slam the door, seems to be a constant for Eupora.
"That seems to be the story all year," Thomas said. "We jump out on people. We are trying to get some consistency where they understand you have to sustain long drives like a football game."
The Wolverines managed to cut the lead down to eight at 29-21 at the intermission. They trailed by 10 points after three quarters.
The closest East Webster got was one at 50-49, before the intentional foul.
"I told them they got to keep their heads up," Stidham said. "They fought their tails off to get themselves back up. We needed another 30 seconds. If we had another 30 seconds, we could have got it done. We couldn't make free throws or shots around the basket. There is going to be nights like that, but you've got to find a way to win. We almost got there, but we didn't and that is something we've got to be able to do."
Although, his team did not close the door like he hoped, Thomas was glad to get the win.
"(Tuesday) actually I am proud of them because we have been in this situation really a number of times this year, and (I am proud) just for them to pull through, have some success, and see a smile on their faces," he said.
The Wolverines were led by Guyton with 15 points. Ty Hendrix added 11 points. East Webster dropped to 7-12 for the year.
Jones led all scorers and Eupora with 29 points. The Eagles improved to 4-13 for the year.
East Webster 44,
MATHISTON – It was the tale of two defenses in the girls' game.
The Lady Wolverines only allowed eight points in the first half, but managed to score only 17 points themselves.
"We played OK," East Webster head coach Mandy Fondren said. "I wouldn't say we played great tonight. We missed a lot of opportunities with the fast break and we didn't at times know who we were guarding."
The Lady Eagles led 6-4 early in the first quarter. That was the last time they led the ball game.
The Lady Wolverines ended the quarter on a 8-0 run and never looked back.
There was only eight points total in the second quarter. The Lady Eagles managed to score first, but the Lady Wolverines ended it on a 6-0 run.
"I thought overall we played pretty decent defense," Eupora head coach Curtis Ford said. "We turned the ball over too much. And that is one thing we have been working on. We are trying to keep from turning the ball over a whole lot."
Although her team played great defense, there was some offense that was missing. Fondren believed her team played the tempo of its opponent.
"We were turning the ball over," she said. "We wouldn't attack the basket and we wouldn't look for our tall girls down low. We weren't playing basketball we normally play. We kind of were playing like they were playing. We let them set the tone of the game."
But at the end of the day it was a district game, and a school that is spitting distance away.
"I'm pleased with the win," Fondren said. "It's a district game."
Jaliyaah Patterson led Eupora with 16 points. Both the Eagles and Lady Eagles will be back in action Friday night when they travel to Pisgah.
East Webster was led by Quantisha Patterson with 20 points. Jada Washington added 14 points. Both Wolverines squads will travel to Greenville St. Joseph's Friday night for their next game.