Winder-Barrow had Lanier on the ropes Friday but couldn’t quite seal the deal.
Ejai Washington’s two free throws with 13.3 seconds left were the difference as the Longhorns scratched out a 64-63 road win over the Bulldoggs in both teams’ GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA opener.
Washington’s clinching free throws were made possible after a sequence of events that began with a double technical foul assessed to both teams. Down 62-61, the Longhorns had just missed a shot that would have given them the lead with 23.4 seconds left and were charged a technical during the play. But when Winder-Barrow’s Brock Landis came down with the rebound on the missed shot, he was whistled for bumping Lanier’s Sion James, who was standing behind him, which led to the double-technical call.
Landis fouled out as a result of the call and Rico Thomas was slotted to shoot free throws in his place. Thomas hit one of two free throws to extend the Bulldoggs’ lead to 63-61. On the other end, James hit one of two shots to cut the lead back to a point, but the Longhorns retained possession. Washington was fouled while driving to the basket to set up the tying and winning shots.
The Bulldoggs (3-7, 0-1 region) had one more possession after Washington’s free throws, but threw the ball out of bounds with 1.2 seconds left.
Still, Winder-Barrow freshman Jacob Merrifield stole the inbound pass, turned around and floated a shot toward the goal, which just missed as time expired.
“I didn’t agree with all the calls tonight, but that’s how the game of basketball goes,” Winder-Barrow coach Ron Garren said Friday after the loss. “That said, I was really proud of our guys’ effort. I told them in the locker room if they continue to play with the kind of passion that they did tonight, the scoreboard would be in our favor more often than not.”
See more in the Dec. 20 edition of the Barrow News-Journal.