Ironton falls in final second
CHESAPEAKE, Ohio -- For 30 minutes Friday night, Ironton showed why the tandem of Zac Carter and Trey Fletcher is considered one of Ohio's top boys basketball tandems.
But, in the final two minutes of the game, Rodney Purvis of Upper Room Christian Academy showed why he is regarded as the 20th-ranked player in the nation by ESPN.
Purvis scored the final eight points for the Eagles from Raleigh, N.C., including an improbable four-point play with 0.9 seconds left to lift Upper Room Christian to a wild 95-94 victory over the Fighting Tigers in the first contest of the Tri-State Hoops Classic at Chesapeake High School.
"You can't ask for anything better to start the tournament off," said Rob Fulford, Huntington Prep Academy head coach and organizer of the three-day event. "That was an unbelievable game. People don't realize how tough it is to score 95-94 in eight minute quarters.
"I know a lot of Ironton people thought that with Purvis and the matchup, they didn't know what they were going to get themselves into, but I told them that I thought Carter was just as good of a guard and he was. He's a great player and people got to see that. With what we are trying to do, that game kicked things off terrifically."
Purvis' final shot was the final crazy twist in a night that was full of them as both teams executed beautifully on the offensive end.
Ironton appeared to have solidified a victory when a rebound and put-back by Fletcher gave the Fighting Tigers a 91-81 lead with just 1:12 left.
Demetrius Troy had not played in the contest for Upper Room, and entered during the final minute and hit a pair of 3-point shots that cut the lead to four.
With just four seconds remaining, Purvis was fouled on a 3-pointer and hit two of the first three foul shots before trying to intentionally miss the last one. Upper Room was called for a lane violation, giving Ironton possession with a 94-91 lead.
Where the lane violation is a deadball situation, the inbounds passer has to be remain stationary, but the Fighting Tigers ran a play where the in-bounder passes it down the baseline to another in-bounder to get the ball into play. The play resulted in a walking violation that gave Upper Room (14-9) the ball back, setting up Purvis' shot, which came with Carter running at him.
The 3-pointer rattled around the rim and fell as Carter clipped Purvis' leg and the N.C. State recruit capped a 32-point night with a free throw that proved to be the game-winner.
The comeback spoiled a banner night for Ironton (12-4).
Despite a size disadvantage, the Fighting Tigers took the ball to the basket strong and led by 13 in the third quarter.
Carter had 29 points and eight assists while Fletcher matched his production with 29 points and also had six rebounds. Trevor White and Dion Brown scrapped down low for rebounds and scoring, finishing with 13 and 11 points respectively.
Part of Ironton's success early on was attributed to foul issues for Purvis, who picked up his second personal with two minutes left in the first quarter and his third with six minutes left. Despite the risk, he didn't leave the court.
The Eagles got 16 points from Faquan Dunn, and 11 from Tyrek Coger. Keysheen Hinton added 10.
Upper Room takes on Huntington Prep at 6 p.m., Saturday.
UPPER ROOM 22 19 22 32 -- 95: Wright 9, Purvis 32, McGee 7, Hinton 10, Coger 11, Bailey 2, Troy 6, Love 2, Dunn 16.
IRONTON 24 19 27 24 -- 94: Carter 29, Fletcher 29, White 13, Brown 11, Johnson 2, Glover 3, Stephens 2, Dutey 2, Boykin 3.
HUNTINGTON PREP 69, CHRISTIAN FAITH 44: JaVontae Hawkins scored 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Express (19-1) to an easy win over the Conquerors from Creedmoor, N.C..
Hawkins was questionable coming into the contest because of a foot injury and came off the bench.
"We didn't know if he was going to play," Fulford said. "Two days ago, we couldn't touch his toe without him screaming. Yesterday, he practiced a bit and said he was good to go, but he came out and had a huge game."
Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points and added eight rebounds.
The biggest factor in the contest was Huntington Prep's ability to win the rebounding battle. Elijah Macon led the Express with 11 rebounds and Huntington Prep had a 42-18 rebounding advantage.
Jalyn Pennie led Christian Faith with 10 points.
CHRISTIAN FAITH 4 15 15 10 -- 44: Radius 3, Keane 4, Chauca 5, Dawson 9, McIntosh 5, Pennie 10, Ndondo 8.
HUNTINGTON PREP 16 14 17 22 -- 69: Rathan-Mayes 7, Wiggins 15, Jankovic 5, Macon 7, Hawkins 22, Bhullar 4, Provo 3, Aholode 6.