By BRAD KEITH
GLEN ROSE (December 12, 2015) — China Spring knocked down all eight of its free throw attempts in the final minute of overtime to win 59-54 over Stephenville (6-9) in the final game for both teams in the Lions Club Invitational in Glen Rose Saturday afternoon.
Mason Holstein scored through contact and hit the ensuing free throw with 12 seconds remaining in regulation to give Stephenville a two-point lead, but China Spring answered with a long two from the left wing to tie the game with two seconds left.
The game-tying shot by China Spring was debated by officials, who ultimately ruled the shooter’s foot to have been on the line of the arc, leaving the game tied.
Stephenville threw a long in bound pass that was tipped in the air by China Spring before being corralled by Zoey Kendall. His 35-foot heave at the buzzer caromed too hard off the glass and the teams went to overtime.
Josh Nowell scored four straight in the paint to begin the fourth quarter, bringing Stpehenville within two. The Jackets didn’t actually grab their first lead of the game, however, until a 3-pointer by Frazier made it 42-41 with 3:28 left.
China Spring hit a 15 foot jumper to lead again with 2:25 left, but Stephenville answered with Holstein scoring inside for a 44-43 advantage with 1:40 remaining.
China Spring led once more in regulation with an easy layup off a turnover before Holstein’s 3-point play gave the Jackets their final lead.
The Cougars scored in the opening seconds and quickly built a two-possession lead in the overtime period. The Yellow Jackets pulled within one on a 3-pointer by Cameron Frazier, but missed a pair of 3-point tries on the only possession of the final minute where they had a chance to tie it up.
Stephenville was led by Nowell with 11 points, all in the second half. Frazier had 10, five in the second half and five in overtime. Zoey Kendall and Easton Jones each score eight for the Jackets, while all seven from Holstein came in the fourth. Coby Vanden Berge had four and Darian Brown scored three early points before picking up a technical foul and not returning.
China Spring scored seven of the final eight points in the third quarter, opening up a 39-33 lead after Stephenville had cut a nine-point halftime deficit to just one early in the period.
Stephenville began the second half with a flurry, or at least Nowell did. The senior post hit a free throw, scored in transition then hit a put back for five points in the opening 35 seconds of the third. A 3-pointer by Rett Dittfurth made it an 8-0 Yellow Jacket run, pulling them within 26-25.
The Jackets needed the rally after a quiet first half. The only highlights were a pair of 3-pointers by Easton Jones and one by Darian Brown. Jones hit a triple to bring the Jackets within 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, which they closed on a 10-4 surge after trailing 11-4 early on.
Stephenville is off the first half of next week, returning to action at 5 p.m. Friday in Kennedale.