Unbelievable finish leads Chelsea to win over Calera

Published 8:10 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

CALERA – After letting a rebound slip through their hands, the Calera Eagles gave the Chelsea Hornets a chance in a big area matchup on Tuesday, Jan. 22, and down 61-59, that’s all the Hornets needed.

Once it fell through Calera’s hands, the ball ended up going right to Jacob Tierney, who has been playing stellar basketball lately, and with the final seconds ticking off the clock in this game, that impressive play continued.

Tierney eventually went up strong with the ball after gathering the offensive board and was able to will it into the basket as the whistle blew signaling a foul. Now, not only had he tied the game at 61-61, but he had the chance for a game-winning and-1 with three seconds remaining. He stepped to the line, and with ice in his veins, drained the free throw to put Chelsea (12-11, 4-1) in front for the last-second 62-61 victory.

It was an incredible ending to a game that never saw the lead grow greater than two points at the end of any quarter. The lead at the end of every quarter, however, was always in favor of the Hornets.

A big reason for that was a strong offensive presence, especially early in the game. While the Hornets have struggled at times offensively this season, specifically early in games, that wasn’t the case in this one.

Chelsea stormed out early in the opening quarter to post 20 points in the period behind nine points from Daniel Washington in the post including an and-1 to get his night started.

He was joined in scoring by four other players for a balanced opening frame behind him.

Calera (12-11, 2-3), however, was right there throughout the quarter.

The Eagles took advantage of an aggressive nature from Chelsea’s defense and earned several trips to the free throw line in the quarter, which became a trend for the night.

Calera shot seven free throws in the period and capitalized on six of those seven attempts. That along with eight points from Cornelius Brown to start the game helped the Eagles post 18 points of their own to remain within two points at the end of the first.

In the second quarter, Calera continued to take advantage of its trips to the free throw line knocking down eight of its 11 attempts from the stripe.

That helped the Eagles post 14 points in the period, while Chelsea only posted 12 points due to going 3-8 from the free throw line. With those struggles, Calera was able to narrow the deficit to one point, 33-32, at the halftime break.

The Hornets, however, were able to extend that lead right back to two points at the end of the third quarter thanks to a strong defensive effort.

Calera still went to the line eight times in the quarter and made five of those shots, but the Eagles only got three field goals outside of that for 11 points.

Chelsea on the other hand drained five field goals in the period and edged the Eagles by one point in the frame to take a 45-43 advantage into the final period.

Thanks to its best offensive quarter of the game, Calera was able to bounce back in the final period and take the lead by a point on a couple of different occasions.

That stayed the case all the way down to the final 14 seconds where the Eagles had extended their lead to two points thanks to five players scoring at least three points in the quarter.

Tierney, however, was able to close out an eight-point final quarter with his and-1 to put Chelsea back in front by one before a last-second heave didn’t go for Calera.

Despite going 5-13 at the line in the final quarter, Tierney ended up making up for it by making the one that ended up counting. While it could have been easier with more made free opportunities, the Hornets were able to escape with one of the more thrilling wins in school history.

Washington led the Hornets with 16 points in the victory, while Tierney added 14 points and four others had at least five points.

Calera was led by Brown with 13 points, while Laparris Whatley and Jordan Eggleston both added 11 points.