Keith’s John Pettway (11) gets by Ellwood’s Amari Spencer during Tuesday’s game at Ellwood Christian Academy. Pettway had 10 points in Keith’s area win over Ellwood. -- Robert Hudson

No. 2 Keith hits free throws to capture area win over Ellwood

Published 11:41pm Tuesday, January 15, 2013

In a physical area matchup, it came down to who hit their free throws, as the No. 2 Keith Bears defeated the Ellwood Christian Academy Eagles 60-47 at Ellwood on Tuesday.

Tommy Tisdale, head boys basketball coach of Keith (14-8, 5-0, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A), said his team stepped up and hit some key shots during a tough win.

“We’ve been preaching free throws for the longest and had a situation where we were put in a spot where we wanted to get out of here and they chose to foul. A couple guys stepped up and knocked down some big free throws,” Tisdale said. “I want to thank the Lord we were able to get out of here with no injuries. That was probably the most physical game I’ve ever seen. They played hard and I thought our guys played hard as usual.”

Steven Hendrieth, head boys basketball coach of Ellwood (4-13, 2-3), said the Eagles were hurt by foul trouble late.

“A bunch of our key guys got into foul trouble. We couldn’t make free throws and they made free throws,” Hendrieth said. “Hats off to Keith. They played a tough, tough game and they pulled it out at the end. Free throws were the difference.”

The Bears went up 41-35 with three minutes left in the third after a layup by Walton Young.

Keith’s Martavius Harris made it a 42-35 game after going 1 for 2 from the line before Ellwood’s Michael Smith hit a pair of free throws to cut the Bears’ lead down to 42-37 with two minutes left in the third.

But Harris came right back and scored under the basket to make it a 44-37 lead with 1:41 left in the quarter.

Smith responded with a three-point play after hitting a shot under the basket and getting the foul to make it 44-40 with 51 seconds left in the third, but Keith’s John Pettway closed the quarter with a pair of free throws that made it 46-40.

The Eagles found themselves in foul trouble in the fourth and Keith capitalized, as 12 of its 16 points in the fourth came from the free throw line.

Anfernee Simmons and Rodney Ellis each had 12 points for Keith, while Young and Pettway each added 10 points for the Bears.

Smith led Ellwood with 14 points, while Amari Spencer and Leon Sanders each had 10 points for the Eagles.

Ellwood will take the floor again Thursday at Billingsley starting at 5 p.m., while Keith will travel to Autaugaville on Friday with games starting at 5:30 p.m.

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