John Essex comeback bid falls short at Sunshine
The Sunshine Tigers withstood a furious second half run by the John Essex Hornets and eventually pulled away for an 87-67 win to claim the Class 1A, Area 4 championship Monday night.
The Tigers used their speed and athleticism to build up their lead in the first half and to take a 15-point advantage into the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Hornets started creating turnovers and easy baskets for themselves to narrow the gap. With six minutes remaining in the third quarter, John Essex had cut the lead down to single digits. As the quarter went on, the Hornets pulled as close as four to the Tigers.
To open the fourth quarter, two quick buckets made it a one-possession game at 67-64. After that, though, the Hornets ran out of gas.
“We really just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter,” head coach Walter Lewis said. “We’ve got a small bench, and it showed late in the game.”
Lewis said his players were prepared to come out of halftime and make a run.
“The guys were prepared to come back after halftime and get back into the game,” he said. “Our guys really wanted this one. We played a great game.”
Timothy Jones, despite fouling out of the game early in the fourth quarter, led the way for the Hornets with 21 points. Michael Moore had 16 points and Anthony McIntosh had 11 points.
Three players from Sunshine scored more than 20 points in the game. Walter Jones had 30 points, Keonta Edwards had 22 points and Cletrell Pope had 21 points.
Several players from Marengo County made the All-Tournament team as well. Imoras Agee from Linden High School, Jeremy Mitchell from A.L. Johnson, Joshua Moore from John Essex and Michael Moore from John Essex were represented on the eight-player team.
The Hornets will be on the road Friday night to face either Fruitdale or St. Luke’s.