Photo: Coosa Christian’s Evan Delp (13) drives between Faith Christian’s Dalton Rogers (left) and Jacob Cleckler (15) during the Conquerors’ 47-45 victory over in boys basketball last Monday (Dec. 10) in Gadsden. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Coosa Christian’s 47-45 victory over Faith Christian Academy came by the skin of its teeth last Monday (Dec. 10), and Coosa head coach Jammie Lett was pleased about the Conquerors’ razor-thin margin of victory.
“We really needed to win a game like that, especially in the area,” he said. “We didn’t shoot well from the free throw line down the stretch and made it closer than it was, but the kids played hard and toughed it out mentally at the end.”
Trailing by five points at the start of the fourth quarter, Coosa put together a 10-3 run that provided the hosts with a 41-39 lead with 4:10 remaining. Evan Delp accounted for six of those points, including a 4-for-4 effort at the foul line.
“That was critical,” said Lett. “We executed our press and finally forced some turnovers that we turned into points. We’re shooting about 48 percent for the season, and basketball is tough enough without being able to score.”
The Conquerors made only one field goal the rest of the way, however, and Coosa converted just four of 10 free throw attempts over the final 3:35. That lack of offense helped the Lions keep within striking distance, and Jacques Prater’s three-point basket with 4.5 seconds on the clock drew the visitors within two points.
Coosa inbounded the ball, and instead the Conquerors drawing a foul that would have led to a double bonus free throw situation, FCA forced a jump ball and regained possession with 2.5 seconds left.
“I told the boys whatever you do, don’t get a jump ball,” said Lett. “That’s exactly what happened, so we were lucky to survive.”
The Lion’s last-second jump shot bounced off the rim, allowing the Conquerors to savor their first Class 1A, Area 11 victory.
Delp paced the Conquerors with 15 points, followed by Caleb Cates with 12 and Clay Waits with 10.
In a back-and-forth first quarter, Faith Christian emerged with a 12-9 lead on the strength of Mike McGraw’s three-point basket in the final minute.
Coosa kicked off the second period with an 8-2 run that regained the advantage. Shaking off a pair of three-pointers from McGraw late in the first half, the hosts used a pair of baskets from Cates and layup by Caiden Lipscomb to take a 25-21 lead into halftime.
A three-pointer by Waits early in the third quarter widened the gap to five points, but respective treys from Prater and E.J. Gomez ignited an 11-4 FCA stretch that trimmed the deficit to 36-31 prior to the final eight minutes.
Gomez led the Lions with 17 points, while McGraw added 14.
Lett was glad to get the Conquerors’ first area win under their belt.
“We’ve had a ton of football-related injuries to start the season, and we’re just now getting back in the groove. Our guys need some more reps and some more games, but we’re coming around.”