Patriots lose lead, game

Published 11:36 pm Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pearl River (7-4) overcame a double-digit deficit to knock off Wallace (3-12) 73-71 on Wednesday.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for a Wallace team that showed promise by overcoming an 11-point deficit in a win over Marion Military Institute on Monday.

“It was definitely a step back for us,” said Wallace coach Ronald Lane. “We’ve got to keep the team mentally strong.”

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The Wildcats trailed by as much as 12 points for much of the game, and by seven with less than five minutes to play.

A Tommy Bradshaw layup with 2:50 remaining tied the game for the first time since the 10:03 mark of the first half. A Rod Little steal led to another Bradshaw layup to give the Wildcats the lead at 66-64.

It was their first lead since a Donta Smith free throw gave Pearl River a one-point lead at the 8:47 mark of the first half. A Darrell Mayberry layup tied the game at 68 with 1:37 remaining, but turnovers and cold shooting doomed Wallace the rest of the way.

“The last seven minutes, we picked up the intensity,” said Pearl River coach Richard Mathis. “We decided to go to a 2-2-1 trap.”

Wallace won the turnover battle 20-16, but its turnovers came at the game’s most crucial time — the final minutes.

“Our guys just aren’t confident,” said Lane. “We’re just not taking care of the basketball.”

The Patriots built a 36-24 lead in the first half on a 13-0 run sparked by a Reggie Mann 3-pointer. They opened the second half with a 6-0 run to extend the lead 44-28. But the Wildcats answered with a 7-0 run of their own to cut the deficit to 44-35.

An Acoff layup stretched the lead back to nine with 6:09 left, but the Wildcats’ responded with the 11-0 run that led to the win.

Chris Walker led the Patriots with 17 points. Acoff chipped in 16 and Mayberry added 12.

Little led the Wildcats with 21 points and Smith finished with 17.