Saints get third win this week

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 9, 2005

It took just two shots of finesse from John Dailey and a dose of power from Robert Childers to turn Saturday night around for the Selma High School Saints.

Dailey sank two free throws with 12.2 seconds remaining and Childers polished off West End with a slam-dunk at the buzzer as the Saints outlasted the Lions, 42-38 in a defensive battle at the Selma High gym.

Dailey’s charity shots helped turn the tide back in Selma’s favor after West End rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

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Childers ended any hopes of the Lions once again coming back with a potential game-winning shot with a thunderous breakaway dunk as the final buzzer sounded.

Selma (8-5) led 34-20 early in the fourth period, but went into a slowdown on offense. The Lions took advantage of the Saints’ slower paced and turnovers to creep back into the game.

“We played good defense in the first half,” Selma coach Willie Maxey Jr. said, “but we were a little lax in the second half. We stopped attacking the basketball and went into a stall mode.”

The Saints’ slower pace seemed to hurt Selma more than help. The Saints began throwing errant passes while the Lions came away with steals and transition baskets.

West End countered the 14-point deficit with an 8-0 run helped by three Selma turnovers. Guard Earl Bennett came away with a front-court steal and took it to the hoop for an easy basket that cut the Saints’ lead to 34-24.

West End forward Reginald McGray looked to cut into the deficit even more when he took the ball to the cylinder on a strong move from the left wing. But McGray’s hope for a bucket was cut short when Childers stepped in and swatted away McGray’s shot.

After a Bennett lay-up cut made it a 34-26 game, the Lions wee cut off inside when forward Jimmy Smith batted away Fredell Dillard’s baseline jumper.

However, the loose ball bounced back to Dillard, who went straight to the basket for an easy lay-up and a 34-28 game.

A pair of free throws by West End guard Brandon Brooks cut the Selma lead to 37-34 with 2:36 to go.

The Saints continued to struggle on offense, missing two foul shots and turning the ball over on its next two possessions.

“Our strategy,” Maxey said, “was to get them to foul us with five minutes to go. I don’t know if we miscommunicated or picked the ball up too early. But the momentum changed when we lost our intensity.”

West End got to within a point, 37-36, when Andre Smith’s touch pass from the right wing found Bennett on the baseline. Bennett made the lay-up and was fouled on the play.

However, Bennett missed the foul shot that would have capped the game-tying three-point play with 1:38 to go.

Another Selma turnover gave the Lions another chance, but West End squelched the opportunity when the Lions were called for a back court violation.

Quindell Pernell made the front end of two free throws to make it 38-36 with 57.6 seconds remaining.

After a West End timeout, Smith missed a three-pointer from the top of the key that would have given the Lions the lead. Dailey grabbed the rebound and was promptly fouled.

After Dailey’s foul shots gave the Saints a 40-36 advantage with 12.2 seconds left, Brooks’ offensive rebound and putback made it a two-point game.

But Childers quickly took the inbounds pass the length of the court for an uncontested slam-dunk to end the game.

“Our defense played well in spots,” Maxey said. “We haven’t played four quarters of defense in a game yet this season. We’ve played two, two-and-a-half quarters.”