By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
By coach Clint Argo’s reckoning, his Pinson Valley squad did poorly for most of the game.
But for six minutes they did really well, as they came from behind beat host Gardendale 68-60 in the regular-season closer for both schools.
“I told my guys that we played the last three minutes of the first half and the last three minutes of the second, but they beat us the rest of the game. We played six minutes, they played for 26,” Argo said. “In the end, I guess that six minutes is what mattered, but I’m not happy with it.”
The Rockets seemed to be in control late, with a seven-point lead in hand and just over four minutes left to play. But the Indians (16-11) started their comeback then, as guard Marcus Merriweather started things off with a basket, followed by a Donovan Waldrop basket off a steal and a Devin Gary 3-pointer.
Gary hit three free throws on four attempts inside two minutes to put Pinson ahead for good.
Indeed, it was foul shots all through the game that helped the Indians out. They were 15-of-17 (88 percent) at the line. Gary was the only player who missed a free throw, going 4-of-6; all of his teammates were perfect from the charity stripe.
Gardendale got off to a good start, extending an early lead to eight points behind the effort of center Trey Evans, who scored 14 points in the first half and 22 for the night. He shot 11-for-21 from the field (52 percent).
But Pinson went on a 14-4 run late in the first half, with a Waldrop trey with 29 seconds left putting his team up by a pair at halftime.
The teams played evenly through the third quarter, before the Rockets pulled away early in the fourth, followed by Pinson’s answer.
Zach Jackson led Pinson with 16 points. Gary scored 12 and Merriweather had 10, as did Johnathan Marable, who also had six rebounds.
Allen Williams put in 11 points and Juan Jackson 10 for Gardendale.
Pinson plays Moody in the first round of the Class 5A Area 11 tournament at Center Point on Friday. The Rockets play 6A Area 12 host Huffman that same night.