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Double-Overtime Thriller

Posted Monday, November 17, 2008 by Sound Mountain reporter

Double-overtime thriller


 

Published November 13, 2008

Albertville’s Drew Epperson made the first game of his senior season unforgettable.

The 5-foot-10 guard drained a 3-pointer from the right wing with 18.3 seconds remaining, breaking a 69-69 tie to propel the Aggies to a 72-69 victory against Douglas in double overtime Tuesday night at Albertville Coliseum.

Following a Douglas turnover, the Aggies missed two free throws with 10.8 seconds left, giving the Eagles a last chance to tie the game.

But Josh Walker’s 3-pointer bounced off the front of the rim at the final buzzer, allowing Albertville to hang on for the win in its season opener. Douglas fell to 0-2.

“Our offense is all motion, and Madison (Tharp) penetrated good and kicked it to me. I was open and didn’t even think about it and put it in,” Epperson said of his clutch basket.

The Aggies’ Donte Spurgeon sent the game into overtime when he nailed a 3, tying it 58-58 with 2.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“They hit big shots to keep it going. A kid that hadn’t hit one on us the whole game buries it,” said Douglas coach Anthony Stapler.

“(Albertville coach) Patrick (Harding) does a good job, and they did what they had to do to win it. We let one slip away.”

The first extra period ended in a 62-62 tie.

Walker’s three-point play gave Douglas a 67-64 edge with 2:05 remaining in the second extra period, but the Aggies knotted it at 67 on T.J. Vines’ trey with 1:48 to go.

Joseph Wright’s layup put Douglas in front at the 1:28 mark, but Epperson hit a baseline jumper, tying it 69-69 with 61 seconds to play.

A Douglas turnover set up Epperson’s decisive trey.

“We didn’t think it would be as close as it was, but it’s just the first game and a lot of emotions, and we’ve just got to get better,” Epperson said.

“They did a good job getting a lot better from their first game to their second game, so that’s what we’ve got to do now.”

The Eagles led 11-8 and 28-22 at the first-half rest stops. They never trailed until Maurice Spurgeon came off the bench to bury a trey, giving AHS a 38-37 lead with 1:35 left in the third quarter.

The game was knotted 41-41 after three periods.

“We deserved to lose about three or four times and deserved to win about three or four times,” Harding said.

“I thought Douglas played really well. Give them a lot of credit.

“I thought our guys played hard, but we made so many silly fouls, and they shot free throws most all night.

“Our kids are just learning. We missed a lot of assignments on defense. It’s just going to take us some time.

“I’m happy that we won, but the task ahead of getting us ready to play twice a week is daunting. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve got only one way to go, and that’s up.

“But again, I don’t want to take anything away from Douglas. I thought they played really hard and made a lot of improvements from the first to second game.”

T.J. Pams led the Aggies with 16 points, all in the second half. Michael Reeves scored 14, hitting four 3-pointers, and Vines tossed in 12.

Donte Spurgeon, Maurice Spurgeon, Derek Hayes and Epperson netted six each. Tharp added four and Dareon Thompson two.

Albertville was 8 of 19 from the foul line.

“The guys played their hearts out tonight,” Stapler said. “And even though we lost, the difference tonight and the way we played our first game the other night … I feel 100 percent better now. We’ve still got a lot of room for improvement, and we’re going to get better.

“I think we got some confidence tonight. The first game we didn’t have any. We were very shaky against DAR the other night.

“The next few games we’re on the road, and win or lose, we want to just get better each night we play. Sure you want to win, but what matters is later on. That’s when it really counts.

“We took a step up tonight from our first game.”

Walker scored a game-high 23 points. Wright had 18 and Daniel Blackwell 12 for the Eagles, who sank 21 of 30 free throws.

Both Eric Paul and Kyle Buchanan added eight.

DAR 64, Douglas 46: The Eagles lost their season opener Friday at Loyd Berry Gym.

Paul’s 15 points topped Douglas. Buchanan, Walker and Wright had eight each.

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