Basketball » Jordan Gaither steal the show versus Wheeler Wilcats
MARIETTA '” Once scheduled to play at a showcase event in North Carolina, top-ranked Wheeler found itself staying home Saturday and instead going up against second-ranked Shiloh at Douglas Lipscomb Gymnasium.
The impromptu battle between the state'™s top two teams lived up to its billing, though the host Wildcats were edged 68-66.
Shiloh'™s Jordan Gaither stole a Wheeler inbounds pass and drove in for a layup with 13.6 seconds remaining in the game to provide the winning basket for the Generals.
Gaither'™s layup capped a close-fought battle between the Class AAAAA powerhouses, with neither team leading by more than four points at any time during the contest.
'I think both teams played very hard,' Wheeler coach Doug Lipscomb said. 'It was a well-fought contest. (Shiloh) gave us opportunities, and we gave opportunities right back. I'™m very proud of the effort our kids gave. We can'™t be disappointed about playing hard.'
The game came about when a showcase event in North Carolina, which Wheeler and Shiloh were both scheduled to participate in, was cancelled. Lipscomb and Shiloh coach Kim Rivers then agreed to play each other instead.
'We were supposed to go to the shootout in Fayetteville (N.C.),' Lipscomb said. 'First, it was scheduled for Duke, but some things happened with that. It got moved, then some other things happened, and it just didn'™t take place. So, we got together to see, '˜Can'™t we just play each other so we wouldn'™t lose that game?'™'
For Rivers, it was a milestone victory for his program.
'To win on the road at Wheeler '” we know the reputation of Wheeler,' he said. 'We'™re trying to bring (our players) up, so it was a great win for Shiloh basketball. It'™s one of the best wins we had in Shiloh basketball history at this time.'
Derrick Evans scored 14 points for Wheeler (4-3), while Jacob Obande added 13 points and Elijah Staley and Charles Mitchell each had 10.
Shiloh (7-0) was led by Robert Carter with 19 points, while Kyle Lewis added 14 points, 7-foot center Trayvon Reed had 13 and Gaither had 12.
Shiloh held a slight advantage through most of the fourth quarter and was up 66-64 when Evans drove in for a layup to tie the game at 66-all with 17.1 seconds left.
Wheeler then got the ball right back on a turnover, but the Wildcats'™ hopes were dashed when Gaither intercepted an inbounds pass and drove in for a layup to put Shiloh back in front with 13.6 seconds left.
Gaither was fouled on the layup, but missed his free throw. However, Wheeler fell just short of tying the game up and sending it into overtime when Evans'™ short-range jumper at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
'We came down and had some good looks at the end. The ball just didn'™t go in,' Lipscomb said. 'You have to give (Shiloh) credit. They were well-coached. I'™m proud of the effort our kids gave. It was a hard-fought game. I think, everybody who came, they got to see two good, hard-playing teams.'