Ellwood wins at home with late-game poise

Published 11:33 pm Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ellwood Christian’s Derrick Griffin lifted the Eagles to their second straight win with 16 points in a victory over the Marengo Panthers at Ellwood Thursday. — Justin Fedich

Ellwood Christian’s Derrick Griffin lifted the Eagles to their second straight win with 16 points in a victory over the Marengo Panthers at Ellwood Thursday. — Justin Fedich

Derrick Dixon rose for a 3-pointer with Ellwood trailing 46-44 late in the fourth quarter. The shot bounced off the rim multiple times and then hung in the air long enough for the crowd to take a deep breath. Dixon’s shot fell through, giving the Eagles their first lead of the second half.

Ellwood didn’t let go of that lead as the Eagles (5-9) outlasted the Marengo Panthers 50-49 Thursday at Ellwood Christian Academy. Derrick Griffin led the team in points with 16.

The Eagles were shorthanded after Ja’Mel Philips broke his hand in practice, but Ellwood head coach Darrell Walker said other players stepped up in his absence.

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“When we call your number, you’ve got to be ready to come in there and play, so I’m proud of my guys,” Walker said.

Marvin White helped Ellwood to a 6-0 lead when he knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:46 left in the first quarter. Griffin gave Ellwood a comfortable lead late in the first quarter when he hit two 3-point shots, each time extending the Eagles’ lead to five points.

Ellwood led 14-9 at the end of the first quarter. The Panthers came back to tie the game 18-18 with 3:32 remaining in the first half.

At halftime, Ellwood trailed 22-21. The Eagles’ deficit only increased in the third quarter, as an 8-1 Panthers run to start the second half left Ellwood in a 30-22 hole. Trailing 36-29 to begin the final period, White picked off a Marengo pass and dished it to Aniete Asubop, who converted a layup to reduce the Panthers’ lead to five points.

Dixon took over late in the game. With 3:34 left in the fourth quarter, Dixon connected on a layup to pull the Eagles within one point of the lead, trailing just 42-41. Asubop made a free throw to tie the game 42-42, and then Kelvante Spicer tied the game again 44-44 with a two-point shot with 2:47 on the clock.

Down by two and with just 50 seconds remaining, Dixon hit the game-deciding 3-pointer to give Ellwood a 47-46 lead. Dixon iced the game by making a free throw with 18 seconds left and two more with eight seconds left.

The victory marked the first time this season Ellwood has won two straight games. The Eagles host Dallas County Friday.


Marengo 49, Ellwood 48 (girls)

The Ellwood girls found themselves in unfamiliar territory Thursday with a one-point lead at halftime. Despite a desperate effort late in the game to comeback, allowing their opponents to go on a 12-0 run in the second half ultimately doomed the Eagles.

Ellwood (0-14) got close to earning its first win of the season, but fell at home to the Marengo Panthers Thursday at home. Brianna Dower led the Eagles with 20 points.

“They fought today,” said Ellwood head coach James Spears. “They stayed in the game, and that’s a good thing.”

Arriana Withers made a 3-pointer early in the first quarter to give the Eagles a 5-4 lead, but Ellwood couldn’t score for the remainder of the quarter and trailed 10-5 at the end of the first period.

With 6:09 left in the second quarter, Brianna Dower hit a 3-pointer to tie the game 12-12. The Eagles led 23-22 at halftime.

After Dower tied the game at 31-31 with 2:25 left in the third quarter, Marengo scored 12 straight points and led 43-31 in the fourth quarter.

Shakeria White made a 3-pointer to pull the Eagles closer with 5:25 left in the game. With 30 seconds remaining, Ellwood was down 49-40. White hit two 3-pointers and with just a few seconds left on the clock, Ellwood trailed 49-48.

Spears said the Eagles missing 25 free throws contributed to the loss.

About Justin Fedich

Staff writer for The Selma Times-Journal.

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