Faith boys’ coach Karl Ivey drew up one final play with one-tenth of a second left in the game as his team trailed 31-30 Friday against Rothschild Middle School Friday.
His team executed it perfectly. Josh Pentz broke free on a screen, caught the in-bound pass in point-blank range of the goal, threw it against the backboard and celebrated with his team as it dropped in the basket.
“I drew that play up on the last timeout, but the ref said ‘no basket,’” Ivey said.It was clear the ball left Pentz’s hands before the buzzer sounded, but officials waived the basket, giving Rothschild a 31-30 win.
Pentz’s negated basket would have allowed Faith to finish with 13-4 run and complete an improbable comeback win. At one point late in the third quarter, Faith trailed 27-19.
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In the fourth quarter, the Warrior Bears took advantage of missed free throws by Rothschild and capitalized on open shot opportunities on offense.
“We had to go to the foul game,” Ivey said. “We had to in order to get back in the game. They missed their free throws down the stretch, we got the open looks we needed, just came down to that last shot at the buzzer.”
Jeffrey Taylor, who led Faith with nine points, hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining.
Rothschild responded by getting to the foul line and converting one of two free throws to give them a one-point lead with four seconds left. Rothschild pressed Faith as the Warrior Bears tried to drive up the court, but Rothschild fouled a Faith player just before time expired.
Faith was not in the bonus and did not get an opportunity to decide the game at the foul line.
The Faith girls team also fell short to Rothschild in a 25-20 loss. Rothschild hit their last six free throws to hold off the Warrior Bears, who had cut the lead to 21-20 late in the fourth quarter.
Faith looked as if they would run away with the game early, leading 7-0 after the first quarter. But whatever rhythm and momentum the Warrior Bears had vanished in the second quarter as Rothschild went on a 10-1 run and never lost the lead after that. Faith couldn’t find much on offense in the second half, making careless turnovers and desperate shots.
“They just weren’t taking their time and they were forcing shots up there,” coach Mikki Raines said. “We wanted to move the ball morebut we weren’t executing.”
The game was delayed late in the fourth quarter for about 15 minutes due to an injury to Faith’s Camia Elzie, who suffered back spasms and was carried out of the gym by EMTs. Raines said she was taken to a hospital and was released later in the evening. Raines said the injury should not affect any playing time for Camia.
Faith has now dropped two straight games now since winning their first two in the Muscogee league. Raines said she and her team are not panicking.
“It seems like each game we improve,” Raines said. “Even though we didn’t win, it’s OK because we know we can play with them. It’s like I’ve always told them that we’re not going to win everything, but as long as we’re competitive, we’re all right.”