By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
PINSON — It may have been the season opener for Pinson Valley's boys basketball team, but they played with the energy and intensity of a mid-season game.
Their offensive execution and their free-throw shooting, on the other hand — well, it looked like a season opener.
Despite that, the Indians closed a narrow second-half deficit against visiting Clay-Chalkville and sent the game into overtime, only to see the Cougars go on an 8-0 run in the final minute of the extra period to score a 65-59 victory over Pinson.
The Tribe hit just 58 percent at the free throw line, including 4-of-12 (33 percent) in overtime. They were also an ice-cold 2-for-25 (8 percent) from outside the 3-point arc.
Coach Clint Argo was not amused.
"Instead of falling back into motion, which is what we do if something doesn't happen, we decided to jack it up from behind the 3-point line," Argo said. "We were 2-for-25 ... because we were just throwing up the shot. There was no rhyme or reason to it. But we lost the game at the free throw line. They made theirs, we didn't."
Argo's squad is playing shorrthanded while some players are still involved in Pinson's march through the football post-season. The good news for Argo is that the season has just begun, so there's plenty of time to iron out mistakes.
"I told them at the first of the season that 'good' isn't good enough, but we didn't even play good tonight," Argo said. "But this game's not going to define us. It's game one of 30-something games."
Zach Jackson keyed the Indians' comeback in the second half. After scoring just four points in the first half, he took command after halftime with a 8-for-11 effort at the foul line and 18 points overall. But Jackson played much of that half in foul trouble, and drew his fifth personal about midway through the extra period.
Kerry Griffith tallied a double-double with 18 rebounds and 15 points for the Indians, and Donevan Waldrop added 13 points.
Martin Reed led coach Daniel Foy's Cougars (1-1) with 19 points, including six in overtime. Sean Burrell scored 19 points and Hasan Abdullah had 12, with all but one after intermission.
Pinson hosts Shades Valley on Monday night.