Pelham boys take down Thompson in final seconds
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer
ALABASTER — From the packed stands, to the TV crews filming the game, to the buzz in the air surrounding an intense rivalry, the Feb. 3 matchup between Thompson and Pelham’s boys basketball teams had all the makings of a great game — and neither squad disappointed.
A dominating performance by Pelham’s Zach Allison, however, the Panthers pulled out a 45-42 win over the Warriors.
Zach Morton kicked scoring off for the evening, putting the first bucket in to put the Panthers up, 2-0, but Thompson’s Rashad Strother answered back, setting in motion a back-and-forth quarter that ended when Reggie Chambers blocked a 3-point attempt by Allison. When the dust cleared, the Warriors found themselves ahead after a Drew Thomas basket cut the lead to 8-7 in favor of the Panthers.
The Warriors picked up the tempo to begin the second quarter, with Strother, Zach Carnes and Blake Lewis scoring to put THS on an 11-3 run. Down 18-11, Allison sank a three to cut the deficit to four, followed by a basket by Dakota Clark to bring the Panthers to 18-16 late in the second.
A Warrior free throw gave Thompson a 19-16 lead headed into the half.
Clark opened up the second half with a Pelham basket, but the Warriors then went on a 5-0 run to extend the lead to 24-18.
Down 28-24, the Panthers began to inch back into the game. Allison drained a three and a follow up basket to take a 29-28 lead. Morton sank a free throw to give the Panthers a 30-28 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Not to be outdone, Strother responded by draining a 3-pointer to start the fourth. Chambers netted a free throw to give the Warriors a 32-30 lead, but Allison scored a on a bucket and the and-one shot to put Pelham up, 33-32.
The Warriors then swung the momentum back their way with a 6-0 run. With time winding down, the home crowd roared when freshman Tavarus Hall sank two free throws to pull the Warriors ahead 38-33.
Just as it appeared Thompson would take the win, Allison came to life. After nailing two free throws, Allison sank another bucket to pull the score to 39-38. With 1:46 left, Morton gave the Panthers the lead on a basket from the post.
With less than a minute to go, Carnes put the Warriors up 42-41. Four combined free throws from Allison and Clark gave the Panthers with under 40 seconds left gave Pelham a 45-42 lead.
The two teams scrambled for possession in the waning seconds, but the Panthers held on for a 45-42 win.
Allison finished with 22 points, five assists and three rebounds, Clark finished with eight points and six rebounds and Morton finished seven points, three rebounds and an assist.
For Thompson, Strother had 13 points, Hall had 10 and Carnes finished with nine.