Dallas County’s William Lee attempts to drive around Wilcox Central’s Freddie Smith in Saturday night’s Dallas County Classic Tournament championship game at Wallace Community College Selma. Lee and Smith were named to the all-tournament team.--Daniel Evans
Dallas County’s William Lee attempts to drive around Wilcox Central’s Freddie Smith in Saturday night’s Dallas County Classic Tournament championship game at Wallace Community College Selma. Lee and Smith were named to the all-tournament team.-- Daniel Evans

Hornets upset by Wilcox Central in final seconds

Published 12:48am Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wilcox Central’s Freddie Smith hit a game winning basket with eight seconds left and the Jaguars upset top-ranked Dallas County 56-55 to win the Dallas County Classic Tournament Saturday night.

After Smith’s shot, Dallas County still had 2.7 seconds left. The Hornets drew up a play that called for a lob pass to guard Jerrod Moorer, but the pass was knocked away and Wilcox Central hung on for the win.

“We had a great play at the end of the game for an easy layup,” Dallas County head coach Willie Moore said. “We were either going to make it or get fouled. I thought there was a lot of contact but we didn’t finish the play.”

After leading most of the night, Wilcox Central found itself trailing late in the game. When Dallas County’s William Lee made a turnaround jumper with 4:44 left, the Hornets led 53-50.

The Jaguars answered by holding Dallas County to only one basket the rest of the game. Even the one Dallas County basket — a Raheem Phillips’ layup through Wilcox defenders with 27.5 seconds left to play — didn’t come easy, but it did give the Hornets the lead.

Trailing 55-54, it was clear the Jaguars wanted to get the ball to Smith, who won the tournament MVP award, on the final possesion

“We said we were going to live or die with him and he came through for us,” Wilcox Central head coach Mark Dukes said.

After several attempts to get the ball in Smith’s hands, Wilcox finally succeeded and he delivered in the same way he had the entire tournament. Smith ran the clock down and eventually attacked the basket, making an acrobatic layup to give the Jaguars the lead for good.

“I thought (Smith) was going to get the ball,” Moore said. “We talked about switching on him but we didn’t want to leave a cutter wide open for an easy layup.”

Wilcox Central defeated Keith, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, and Dallas County, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, on back to back days to win the tournament.

“This is an amazing accomplishment,” Dukes said. “I’m so proud of my guys right now.”

Wilcox Central led 37-36 at halftime and scored the first four points of the second half to extend the lead to 41-36, which was the largest lead of the game. Outside of that, the game was a one possession game the entire way.

The Jaguars led 50-48 after three quarters and were held to only six points the entire fourth quarter, but Wilcox’s suffocating defense kept them in it.

As a result, Dallas County was held to only seven points in the final quarter.

Smith scored 26 points in all for the Jaguars. He made only one basket in the final quarter, but it was the game winner.

Lee led the Hornets in scoring with 24 points and he added 12 rebounds. Javaros McGuire added eight points for Dallas County.

Moorer, the Hornets’ sharpshooter, was held to only five points and he did not make a three-pointer.

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