(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- Understandably, Charleston junior Krushon Scott admitted he was a little on edge when stepping to the free throw line with the game tied and just 4.8 seconds left.
After all, Portageville continued to hang around until finally making their run in the fourth quarter giving their Friday night contest a wild ending and giving Scott a chance to seal the win.
"I was shaking," admitted Scott. "We needed at least one free throw. They were counting on me so I wanted to make sure and follow through with it."
Scott settled his nerves on the first free throw, sinking it to give his Bluejays a 68-67 lead. The second, however, clanked off the rim.
"On the second free throw, I paused and that's why I missed," said Scott. "I was nervous."
It turned out to be alright for Scott as his one free throw was enough to hold off the surging Bulldogs in a narrow 68-67 win at Charleston High School.
"This is a very big win for us," said Scott.
Scott just so happened to be put in that position following the fouling out of teammate Claude Armstrong and a last-second scramble for the ball after sophomore Ryan Parham missed a fairly open layup with under 10 seconds to go.
"When I first got the ball, I saw the rim and I just went for it," said Parham. "I got up there and Dominique (Walker) slapped my arm but they didn't call it. It was a good foul though."
Portageville's Rondraus Booker came down with the rebound only to have it knocked away and a scramble ensued. Scott came up with the loose ball and was fouled while trying to go up for a shot. His game-winning free throw came after.
"(Parham) missed the layup and Jerry (Carter), he rolled the ball over to me and I got fouled," said Scott. "That was a great play for us."
Portageville, with 3.4 seconds remaining after Scott's missed second free throw, called timeout and had one last chance for the win.
The inbounds pass went to Portageville senior Isaac Ray who then tried to force a pass to fellow senior Fred Treadwell, who was given the go-ahead to take the last shot. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, that pass never made it to Treadwell as Parham swatted the ball away and clinched the win.
"Coach told me to deny (Treadwell) the ball," Parham said. "I knew they were coming to him from the look in his eyes. I just had my hand up and slapped it."
Charleston (15-5) was led by junior Gregory Tucker who scored 23 points.
Facing unbearable cramps that took him out of the game twice in the second half, Parham fought through and was crucial in keeping pace with the upset-minded Bulldogs in the second half, matching them basket for basket.
"I was cramping up bad," Parham said. "It's all over my whole body. I just get cramps real bad.
"We didn't play at our best," added Parham. "We had a couple of instances where we didn't shoot the ball well, but we pulled it through."
Portageville outscored the Bluejays 34-28 in the second half after falling behind 40-33 at halftime. Parham scored 15 of his 19 points in the last two quarters including six in the fourth.
"He's going to be a good one," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said about Parham. "He can take people off the dribble and he can create offense for us. It's good that he can be able to do that when our shots aren't falling. They're not going to fall every night and we got some easy buckets."
Treadwell did his best to lead Portageville's comeback efforts with a team-high 21 points which included nine fourth quarter points -- six in the last two minutes.
"I thought our kids did a great job of stepping up to the challenge," Portageville head coach Jason Irby said. "Just about everyone that we put in played pretty good. A one-point game like that is going to come down to a lot of little things -- we didn't hit some free throws, we missed a couple of easy buckets around the paint."
Portageville (13-6) fell behind early in the first half. They were behind 21-14 at the end of the first quarter and then seven points at halftime after Portageville sophomore Denzell Simmons hit a half-court buzzer beater to end the first half.
The Bulldogs rallied back from being down by as many as 11 points but never held a lead throughout the game. And they did it all without their starting point guard, Tevin Walker, who sustained a sprained ankle during their Thursday night game against Gideon.
"Tevin's a big part of what we do," said Irby. "We still expected to come in here and play really well, and we did. Having Tevin would have helped us but that's part of basketball. Hopefully, we'll have him back next week."
Farmer was pleased with the win, but not so much about his team's focus going into it.
"The only good thing about the game was that we were able to win it in the end," said Farmer. "I don't think we were focused. This is around Homecoming and we had our Homecoming festivities earlier and I hate times like this. I don't think the kids are focused and I knew Portageville was going to come in playing hard.
"The good thing you can get out of it is that you win a close game. We had the will to win."
PORTAGEVILLE (67) -- Isaac Ray 4, Dominique Walker 6, Fred Treadwell 21, Blake Posey 4, Rondraus Booker 7, Steve Buchanan 8, Jake Young 12, Denzell Simmons 5. FG 26, FT 11-18, F 21. (3-pointers: Ray 1, Treadwell 2. Fouled out: Walker.)
CHARLESTON (68) -- Aaron Cassell 5, Ryan Parham 19, Gregory Tucker 23, Claude Armstrong 9, Jerry Carter 9, Krushon Scott 3. FG 24, FT 17-22, F 19. (3-pointers: Tucker 2, Carter 1. Fouled out: Armstrong.)