Evangel tops Chambers Academy

Published 11:17 am Friday, January 11, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – It’s been an up-and-down season for the Evangel Lightning, but on Thursday, Jan. 10, they were able to pick up a big victory against 11-2 Chambers Academy.

It marked a redemption win for the Lightning, who fell to Chambers 67-59 earlier this season, but were able to bounce with an eight-point win of their own this time around by a final score of 66-58.

“I’m hoping tonight builds their confidence and we continue to grow,” Evangel head coach Hagan Joiner said. “I’ve put together an extremely tough schedule for these guys and I continue to tell them not to let the losses get them down.”

Evangel showed that fight against a very good Rebels team.

The first half saw each team matching the other with runs from each spread out throughout the half. Eventually the Lightning were able to grab a slim 31-28 lead at the half.

Coming out in the second half, that back-and-forth mentality didn’t change, as the two teams stayed within three points of each other for much of the third quarter.

That didn’t change until the game was starting to get down to the wire with three minutes remaining.

That’s when Chambers Academy hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take their largest lead of the game at 57-51, which put Evangel in comeback mode with just more than two minutes remaining.

But, in a game where both teams answered runs nonstop, you had to expect Evangel to do so, and that’s just what the Lightning did.

They hit back-to-back 3-pointers themselves from the shots of Peyton Lawrence and Carson Hendon to tie the game at 57-57.

With two minutes remaining, the Rebels were able to regain the lead after hitting one of two free throws at the line.

That’s when composure entered.

Evangel senior Noah Harwell was then fouled, but more importantly that was followed by a technical foul called on Chambers at the worst possible time.

Harwell went on to hit his two free throws before Hudson Hobbs stepped up and knocked down both of the technical free throws to give Evangel four straight points and the ball back without the Rebels even getting to touch the ball.

Now leading 61-58, the Lightning took advantage of the extra possession and went on to close the game out with a 9-0 run after falling behind 58-57 to pull off the 66-58 victory.

A big reason for that strong stretch to end the game was free throw shooting and defense, which pleased Joiner.

“I’ve told these kids all year, when you play against good teams the games come down to defense and free throws,” he said. “We hit our free throws tonight and played our most complete game on the defensive end of the floor in my eyes.”

For the game, Evangel shot 21-25 from the free throw line and hit 10 3-pointers.

Hobbs led the Lightning in scoring with 21 points, while Lawrence put up an additional 17 points. Senior Westin Akin added a third double-figure scorer with 12 points.