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News > Hawks last-second rally sinks Fort Sill
Hawks last-second rally sinks Fort Sill

Posted 11/23/2010   Updated 11/23/2010 Email story   Print story


by James Brabenec
Fort Sill Cannoneer Staff Writer

11/23/2010 - FORT SILL, Okla.  -- Travis Carter calmly drained two foul shots with eight seconds remaining in overtime to lead the Tinker Hawks past the Fort Sill Cannoneers 99-98 in varsity men's basketball Sunday at Honeycutt Fitness Center on Fort Sill.

The Hawks solid play in Game 1, resulting in a 90-80 victory, carried over into Game 2 as coach Clarence Griffin ran the offense through Hawks big man Derek Deran who punished the Cannoneers with easy baskets down low.

"It's nice to come down and win these games, because we're often looking up at Fort Sill in the standings," said Griffin. "I'm proud of the way my team hung in there; this win says a lot about their character and determination to compete with Fort Sill on their home floor."

Cannoneer guard Brett Eason opened the scoring in Game 2 as he kept the ball alive down low scoring close in, but Deran countered with a strong inside move and ball fake to lay the ball in and knot the score. Moments later Phil Hawthorne netted a long 3-pointer for the first of his 15 points. Then, Derrick Nelson, Cannoneers center, drove to the bucket and flipped in a soft finger roll to draw to within one at 7-6.

Later in the half with the score 28-23, Hawks guard Brandon Collier nailed a 3-pointer to close the gap to 28-26.

Cannoneer small forward Michael Thomas responded moments later on a fast break led by guard James Dix who hustled the ball upcourt with one Hawk defender to beat. Instead of going for a layup, he banked the ball off the glass and the trailing Thomas left no doubt as he grabbed the ball and dunked to the roar and delight of spectators and teammates alike.

However, the tenacious Hawks hung close keeping the difference in single digits. Following a Cannoneer turnover, Jurail Smith, Hawks small forward, broke clear and sprang upward intent to heave the ball down with an exclamation dunk. Instead he missed and hung on the rim too long drawing a technical foul.

"Jurail is a very good player who hustles and works hard on and off the court," said Griffith. "But, I have to put a rope on him sometimes, because he will go out there and do some things that just make you shake your head. Even so, he's the kind of player who brings a lot of energy to the team with his desire to win."

Though Smith's technical increased Sill's lead to 39-30, the Cannoneers offense went silent for five possessions as Tinker closed with a 7-0 run to bring the score to 39-37 at halftime.

The second half was a mirror image of the first, except the Hawks were the team slightly in front.

Griffin kept calling Deran's number on offense as the big man was able to work in close and score easy buckets. Unlike last year when Tinker had a smaller sized roster, Griffin has a couple big men who play strong in the paint. He said the other is playing on the all-services team in Europe but will return in time for the regular season.

"Derek is a horse down low and that is our strength this year," said the Hawks coach. "He's a hard man to defend, and we just kept giving him the ball until the Cannoneers changed their defensive scheme."

Despite Deran's domination, the Cannoneers stayed close finally knotting the score at 71 with a couple buckets inside by Kelvin Stewart and Eason. Neither team could ignite any momentum as the seesaw scoring kept the game close.

A mere 25 seconds remained in regulation as the Cannoneers played for the last shot. But, indecision factored in as they missed one shot then failed to put up another as the clock ran out.

In the five-minute overtime, the Cannoneers held the upper hand taking a three-point lead at 95-92 with 1:30 left. But, Deran stole a pass and took it in himself for two to pull to within one, 95-94.

Again the Cannoneers built a lead, this time four points, with only 15 seconds left. As Cannoneers coach Kenny Anderson yelled "no fouls," Smith brought the Hawks hope up court against little defensive pressure. He stopped about three feet outside the three-point arc and launched a high arcing jumper that cut the cords to whittle the lead to one, 98-97.

Still, the Cannoneers held the lead as they looked to inbound the ball from near the Hawks basket. With tight man-to-man coverage in close, the ball went beyond midcourt to Thomas. But, Carter running stride for stride with Thomas held the inside position and made the steal which led to the win.

Deran paced the Hawks with 25 points, Carter added 23 and Smith 15. For the Cannoneers, Eason led the way with 21 points, Tatum added 15 and Nelson 14.

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