BOKCHITO – David Dill left a sour taste in the mouths of Eagletown fans after his buzzer-beating put-back prevented overtime and gave the Rock Creek Mustangs a winning start to the new year.
Dill scored a game-high 18 points, including the game winner, as the Mustangs clipped the Eagles 51-49 on Monday. Bronson Burns added 13 – eight in the fourth quarter – as Rock Creek fought off a ferocious second-half rally by Eagletown.
The Mustangs led 24-19 at the half with balanced scoring. Burns and Leo Roper hit early threes and Tyler Parker got into the act to extend the Rock Creek lead to seven just before the half.
The lead crept up to 10 points early in the third as Dill scored six, nabbed two steals and helped Toby McIntire get to the hole for a pair of buckets. But Eagletown closed the quarter on a 14-3 run, taking the lead back on a corner three at the buzzer.
Both teams settled into a fourth quarter battle. Bronson Burns connected on a four-point play (three-ball and foul shot) which got the Mustangs ahead by a basket. The lead switched back by a point either way until the two-minute mark, when Burns hit two of his five late freebies and got the Mustangs up 47-44.
Eagletown tied the game on a three, then Rock Creek went up 49-47 on a put-back by Cameron Hammond. The Eagles tied the game again with a minute to go.
Coach Rob Frederick took the air out of the ball with Burns dribbling out the clock at the top of the key. Frederick called timeout at nine seconds, and ran a play for Burns to shoot long with time winding down.
The shot was blocked and ended up in Dill’s hands for the put-back. Time expired as the ball was in the air. Behind Dill and Burns, McIntire finished with nine points, Roper had five, Hammond four and Parker two.
Rock Creek moves to 5-8 on the season, and their next action will be at 12:20 p.m. Thursday at the Kingston New Year’s Classic against the Latta Panthers. Latta (9-1) is currently ranked No. 5 in class 2A.
Rock Creek girls 41, Eagletown 37
BOKCHITO – The Lady Mustangs held off Eagletown and overcame an injury to senior Adree Young in a physical 41-37 victory on Monday.
Young went down in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and did not return to the game. Devyn Johnson and Julie Layton stepped up to combine for 25 points, helping the Lady Mustangs improve to 6-7 on the season.
“(Johnson) is going to take control. She’s a leader on the floor and that’s what we need out of her,” said Rock Creek Coach Clyde Young. “We’re playing pretty good defense, but we’re still trying to get buckets. It takes doing the little things, like not turning the ball over and hitting free throws.”
The Lady Mustangs endured a free throw meltdown late in the game, ironically sealing the win on 1-for-2 shooting by Layton with nine seconds left. But it was the steals and rebounding of Johnson which helped put Rock Creek over the top.
Johnson scored 13 and Layton added 12 for the Lady Mustangs. Harlie Heflin scored seven, Shaina Holland had five (all in the first half) while Tiegan Munson and Kaci Haislip had a bucket each.
The Lady Mustangs led 8-3 before a 7-2 run kept the Lady Eagles hanging around. Rock Creek responded with a 6-0 run in the second, and kept the pressure on by making plays like an assist from Johnson to Munson just before the half.
Rock Creek weathered foul trouble and turnovers in the third quarter, a 9-9 stalemate with the Lady Eagles. The Lady Mustangs’ lead hit nine in the fourth as they turned steals into fast-break opportunities.
The Lady Eagles got to within three points in the final minute before Johnson’s quick hands found another steal. She got the ball ahead to Layton who hit the free throw to put the Lady Mustangs ahead for good.
The Lady Mustangs will face Tishomingo at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Kingston New Year’s Classic. The Lady Indians (7-1) are ranked No. 6 among Class 3A schools.