Sports: London Central ekes out close wins
January 11, 2006
HIGH WYCOMBE — Two points was all that separated two Alconbury teams from victory at London Central.
A couple of free throws for the Dragons, and a missed layup opportunity or two for the Lady Dragons stood between misery and elation.
But London Central’s Katie Kelly hit a three-pointer with six seconds remaining to edge out the Lady Dragons 21-20 and David Marbury scored two of only three field goals for both teams in overtime to lead the London Central boys to a 46-45 win.
The Lady Bobcat come-from-behind win proved to be the exclamation point on an otherwise defensively minded contest. Alconbury led at halftime 9-7, with the Lady Bobcats scoring only one point in the second quarter.
But London Central came on strong when it counted, scoring nine in the final frame.
Kelly led all scorers with nine points, all of which came in the second half for the freshman who Coach Mark Dix refers to as a “pure shooter.”
Her final fling to seize the lead was the purest.
“He (Dix) asked for a three-pointer and I gave him a three-pointer,” the freshman from California said after the game. “Coach said we had to show a lot of heart, and I think we did. It was a big win for us.”
Oni Pegues led the Lady Dragons with seven points in the loss. The senior kept the game close with decisive drives to the hoop that culminated in strong finishes.
“We are going to keep working on the fundamentals and improving each week,” Alconbury coach Tom Stafford said. “They are getting better each week, and we can be ready for conference play at the end of the month.”
The win boosts the Lady Bobcats to 2-6 while the loss drops Alconbury to 0-5.
The contest between the male Dragon and Bobcat teams was equally tight, but came down to free throws in overtime rather than a stunning last-second shot.
In the end, the Dragons will not remember a fourth-quarter comeback that led to overtime. Instead, the team will have to reflect on the seven missed free throws in the extra frame.
The Dragons went 4-for-11 from the not-so-charitable stripe.
The Bobcats didn’t inspire from the free throw line, either, in the overtime, shooting 3-for-8. Marbury missed two but made amends with four points from the field.
In the end, the junior from Alabama led all scorers with 16, while co-captain Antony Thomas made key plays on both sides of the ball, especially in the closing minutes.
“We just had to control the ball and play our game, not theirs,” Thomas, a senior from Indiana, said. “This game will help us in the future because we will be ready for overtime games and to make sure we play to our level throughout the game.”
The win lifts the Bobcats to 6-2 while the Dragons fall to 1-4.
Xavier Ferguson had a strong all-around performance for the Dragons with 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals and four assists. But he also had the final shot slip out of his hands with less than five seconds on the clock.
“I learned to wipe my hands before I take the last shot,” the senior from Massachusetts said. “I was sweaty, and it just slipped.”
But the shifty guard found positives in the heartbreak.
“We brought many people off the bench and played close, and now we know we can play more people come tournament time,” he said. “We are going to work harder and practice harder and come back next week and see what we can do.”