Saturday, 12 January 2019 02:17

Middle School Sports Report: Ellerbe boys stun Sandy Grove for first win; Lady Wildcats roll past Lady Panthers

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Ellerbe's Emoni McBride (5) pulls up for a shot during the Wildcats' first win of the season Thursday. Ellerbe's Emoni McBride (5) pulls up for a shot during the Wildcats' first win of the season Thursday. Contributed photo by Bonnie Yarbrough.

ELLERBE — The gymnasium inside Ellerbe Middle School was electric at the end of both of Thursday’s games, as the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats pulled off big conference wins over Sandy Grove Middle school.

Wildcats earn first win by stunning Panthers

Ellerbe head boys basketball coach Tommy Shelton had seen his team be competitive in the first three games of the season. Unfortunately for the boys from the northern end of the county, they entered Thursday’s home game against Sandy Grove winless.

But all of that changed in the game’s waning seconds, as the Wildcats escaped with a 46-45 victory.

Ellerbe controlled a tightly-contested game from the opening tip, and narrowly outscored the Panthers 22-20 before the end of the first half. A slow start in the first quarter saw only five points scored for the home team, with four coming from eighth grader Emoni McBride.

The second quarter was a different story, as the Wildcats got their offense rolling. They added 17 points in the quarter, with McBride adding six more of his team-high 21 points. Teammate Daquan Young splashed a three-pointer while also adding a field goal in the frame for five points.

Ja’kwon Covington, Conner Utley and Freddy Hill each had two points in the second to give Ellerbe a two-point advantage at the intermission.

The second half was neck-and-neck between both teams, as the Panthers wouldn’t let the Wildcats open their lead. Twelve points in the third stanza by Ellerbe was just outdone by the 14 points from Sandy Grove, as the game was tied at 34 heading into the final six minutes.

The Wildcats mustered enough offense and defense to outdo the Panthers 12-11 in the fourth quarter to hang on for the win. McBride came up big in the final quarter, tallying six more points, all on field goals. But the biggest shot came from Young, who snatched a steal and laid the ball into the basket for the game-winning bucket with under five seconds to play.

Adding to McBride’s 21 points were 10 from Covington and eight more from Young. Hill ended the game with four points.

Now 1-3 on the season, the Wildcats will travel to the Wagram Rec Center to face Christ the Cornerstone Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 5 p.m.

Lady Wildcats rebound with big win over Sandy Grove

Prior to the boys’ one-point win, head coach Derek Anderson’s Lady Wildcats clawed their way past the Panthers in 43-30 fashion. It was the Lady Wildcats’ second win of the season, as they leveled their season record at 2-2.

The 43 points scored by Ellerbe was a season high, and the 13-point victory was also a season best (previous best was a 12-point win over Carver Middle School to open the season). A pair of double-digit scoring performances by eighth graders Nylan Stroman (13 points) and Curtia Crump (12 points) led Anderson’s team to victory.

Before opening up the scoring, Ellerbe led by only two points at the end of the third quarter. But Anderson implemented a three-quarter court press that shut down the Lady Panther shooters, and a 10-0 run to start the quarter gave the Lady Wildcats a comfortable lead they wouldn’t surrender. Stroman went on a six-point scoring run of her own during that span.

The Lady Wildcats will look to grab their third win of the season when they travel to Christ the Cornerstone Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 4 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy. Sports guru. Eagle Scout. Motorcycle enthusiast. Pretend golfer. Avid reader. Pennsylvania native. 

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