By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
PINSON — The fans at the filled-to-capacity Mike Dutton Gymnasium got all the basketball they could want Friday night, and then some.
And after Pinson Valley’s girls team turned in an overtime upset victory over visiting No. 6 Center Point, their boys followed with a similar performance in a 62-58 over time win over the eighth-ranked Eagles in a crucial Class 5A Area 11 clash.
Kerry Griffin’s basket with exactly one minute left in regulation time tied the score at 49-49, then Donevan Waldrop hit five out of six free throws in the final 42 seconds. Those foul shots, along with another pair from Harrison Johnson, sealed the victory for the Tribe.
It was a big finish for a Pinson team that’s been on a big hot streak — nine wins in the last 10 games, dating all the way back to Dec. 17.
“That was by far the best complete game, offensively and defensively, we’ve played all year,” Indians coach Clint Argo said. “Obviously everything wasn’t perfect, but it was the best complete game this year. And tonight needed to be the best, being the big area game.”
Pinson jumped out to an early lead, but Center Point trimmed that down to one point by halftime, and evened the score after three periods. Marvelle Adkins put the Eagles in front with a basket at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Indians stayed close enough for Griffin’s late basket that leveled the scores again.
Adkins responded again with a 3-pointer right off the opening tip-off in overtime and got another two points on a goaltending call, but the Eagles went cold after that. Baskets by Zach Jackson, Johnson and Austin McKinney brought Pinson back to within a point. And when the Tribe got the ball back on an alternating possession, Waldrop was fouled and sank two foul shots to put the home team in front for good.
Center Point was then forced to foul with the clock winding down, and the Indians took advantage at the foul line.
Jackson led Pinson Valley with 16 points, Griffith had 15 to go with eight rebounds and six steals, and McKinney scored 10 points.
Atkins led all scorers with 17 points for Center Point (13-6, 4-1 area); Dedric Foreman and Kameron Hornbuckle each scored 12.
Argo thought his squad had done particularly well in practice sessions leading up to the win over the Eagles.
“We had two really good days of practice, and it showed tonight. Even the guys who didn’t get in the game worked hard in practice, and it helped us get ready for tonight,” he said.
Pinson Valley (13-7, 4-1) finishes off its area games as it hosts Springville on Tuesday night. The Indians won on their December game at the Tigers’ gym, but it wasn’t easy.”
“We’ve still got a job to do there Tuesday,” Argo said. “We struggled and didn’t play well, and it was during a time where we weren’t playing particularly well. But now we’re playing beter and hitting shots we hadn’t been hitting earlier.”