A foul call with no time left on the clock in overtime Thursday allowed Selma’s Jadarius Whitlock to go to the free throw line and sink a game-winner for the 67-66 victory over Demopolis.
The game’s climactic sequence followed a pair of missed Demopolis free throws with 18.9 seconds left on the clock. Selma got the rebound and called timeout with 14.7 seconds left in a 66-66 game. Out of the timeout Selma proved unable to cash in on its last-second shot opportunity. Whitlock grabbed the long rebound and fell to the floor under a Demopolis defender who was planted near the left block.
“He did exactly what he’s taught. He is taught to take away the baseline, put your hands up, try to tack the charge. If not, you just be strong. Hands up. I feel like he did it,” Demopolis coach Ashley Allen said of the game’s final moments. “A lot of calls don’t go our way, but that’s alright. I have to put it on us missing those free throws. We should have never been in that situation.”
Demopolis had previously overcome a lackadaisical first three quarters of play to climb out of an eight-point fourth quarter hole and force overtime. Melvin Chlders drained a three with 4:03 left in regulation to put the Tigers up 45-44. Selma then embarked on a 6-0 run before the Tigers clawed their way back into it again. Darius Birl drained a pair of free throws with 1:48 left in regulation to cut the deficit to 52-50. With 1:19 to play, Childers hit two more free throws to tie the game at 52.
“I’m proud of them. I tell them all the time that we have to use all of our tools. We have a lot more tools than one or two players,” Allen said. “We got in foul trouble and had to take some guys out, but as I put other guys in they stepped up and they did what they had to do. We have to use our entire team. We’re not a one man show.”
Demopolis junior Nelson Haskin came up with a steal with 1:05 to go and cashed in the ensuing free throw chances to put his team on top 54-52. Jerryonne Patterson made good on his charity stripe visit to tie the game at 54 with 59 seconds to play. Childers put his team in position to win the game when he connected on a drive with 48.3 left to make it 56-54 before Selma converted a bucket in the waning seconds to send it to overtime at 56 all.
Selma got two free throws from Tommie Moore with 3:18 to play in overtime to take a 58-57 lead, the only time the Saints would hold the advantage in the overtime period.
Childers put his team back on top with a drive before Haskin dished off to Birl for three and the 62-58 lead.
Jeffery Huff brought his team back with 1:26 to play when he connected with a jumper to make it 64-62 in favor of the Tigers. After Keshawn Johnson got the offensive rebound off two missed free throws and made two of his own to make it 66-62, Huff kept Selma in it with an offensive rebound and put-back with 1:00 to play. Huff repeated the feat with 28 seconds to go to tie the game.
Demopolis went 18 of 31 from the line but missed four crucial free throws in overtime. Selma was 11 of 21 with none mattering more than Whitlock’s winner.
Huff led all scorers with 28 points and five rebounds. Moore added 11 points and seven rebounds. Whitlock, Patterson and Jalen Garner each finished with nine points for the Saints.
Childers paced the Tigers with 18 points and eight rebounds. Taylor Herelle finished with 14 points. Shakari Williams had 12 points and eight rebounds. Birl finished with 10 points. Johnson had 10 rebounds. Haskin had six points, nine rebounds, eight blocks, four assists and two steals.
Demopolis (7-10) has little time to recover as it is set to host Linden (13-8) Friday night.
“Something is wrong with you if you don’t bounce back for Linden. If you play in Demopolis, any sport, it’s automatic. You bounce back for Linden,” Allen said. “We owe them. We played them in the first game of the season, let them slide by. We’ll gear up. We’ll be ready.”