By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
Oak Mountain methodically chipped away at a 10-point Gardendale halftime lead, then held on for dear life as the Rockets tried to take back their season-opening game at the buzzer, as the Eagles prevailed 47-46 Thursday night.
The Rockets led by as many as 11 points in the early going, and enjoyed their halftime advantage thanks in part to a pair of three-pointers late in the second quarter, by Juan Jackson, who came off the bench to score 22 points to lead all scorers.
But the Eagles tied the game with a minute to go in the third quarter on a 3-ball by guard Chris Marino. They took the lead early in the fourth on another trey by Deshawn Giles and eventually extended the lead to seven points.
But in the last minute of the game, Jackson hit another three cut the lead to one point with :10.6 left.
The Rockets then fouled Giles, who missed the front end of the one-and-one at the line.
On the rebound, Gardendale guard Allen Williams drove the length of the court for the final shot, but the ball rolled off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Jackson was 5-for-8 from behind the 3-point arc and 6-for-13 overall for Gardendale (0-1). Trey Evans added 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, four on each end of the court, but also spent significant time in foul trouble, getting his third and fourth personals in quick succession late in the third period.
Giles scored 18 for the Eagles (2-0).
The Rockets will play in the Clay-Chalkville Thanksgiving tournament next week. They won’t return to their home court until Nov. 27, when they host Pell City.