WILD SHOT BRINGS TITLE TO PASS
March 31, 2009Pass Christian High School
JACKSON - Point guard Blake Evans will be forever linked with Pass Christian\'s basketball program.
The senior\'s incredible three-point play with 4.2 seconds left gave the Pirates a thrilling 52-50 victory over Raymond in the Class 3A state basketball championship game Friday night.
The Pirates (33-3) captured their first title in school history before a crowd of 3,200 at the Mississippi Coliseum.
And they did it the hard way.
Trailing 50-49, Evans provided some last-second heroics. He drove between three Raymond defenders and threw up a wild shot - with his eyes closed - that somehow went in. Evans also hit the free throw, giving the Pirates a two-point lead.
"I was trying to be creative, either finding a shot or an open man," Evans said. "It feels great to win a state championship."
It was his only field goal of the game.
Pass Christian coach Buddy Kennedy had confidence with the ball in Evans\' hands.
"We were looking for Evans to make it happen," Kennedy said. "Whenever things get helter-skelter for us, he settles the team down."
Raymond (24-9) nearly pulled off a last-second victory but Jeremy Richards\' 3-point basket bounced off the rim.
The Rangers took Pass Christian out of its game plan for a slow-tempo contest. Sharvin Hamilton\'s free throw and Corey Sanders\' putback gave Raymond a 50-49 lead with 30 seconds left in regulation.
"We wanted to run up and down the court; they wanted to slow us down," Kennedy said. "We had enough points to win it."
Stanley Magee and Demetrius Lee picked up two fouls, but the Pirates led 14-7 after one quarter as Rashad Montgomery had five of his 10 points.
Pass Christian unleashed its press-and-trap defenses in the second quarter, building a 28-15 lead. Eric Dawkins had a monstrous slam dunk in the period, and the Pirates led 28-19 at halftime - a margin that didn\'t reflect their dominance.
The Rangers (24-9) made a run in the third quarter, outscoring Pass Christian 14-7 to trail 37-35. Owond Lofton and Sharvin Hamilton each hit treys during the period.
That set the stage for a thrilling finish, and one of the state\'s best championship games in years.
Magee led the Pirates with 13 points; Lee added 12.
"I had to make plays for us in the fourth quarter because I wanted to win a gold ball," Lee said.
Hamilton led the Rangers with 13 points.