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Sentinels take 'Cats down to, down at buzzer

January 22, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

WILLIAMSPORT - It was the kind of shot - a turnaround, fadeaway 25-foot 3-pointer - most players can only dream about making.

Fort Hill senior Jordan Brooks is not most players.

"I really don't know what to say. I think I'm supposed to make that shot," he said.

And he did.

Brooks' long-range bomb hit nothing but net with 2 seconds left Monday night, giving him the last of his 25 points and the undefeated Sentinels a tough 55-52 victory over No. 5 Williamsport - spoiling the Wildcats' hopes of avenging a 69-62 loss to Fort Hill in last year's Class 1A West final.

"We wanted him to take the last shot," Sentinels coach Todd Eirich said. "He makes that move all the time. It was a big shot and a key win for us."

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"A.J. (Jamison) played good defense on him," Wildcats coach Scott Mowbray said. "It's a shot you want him to take, and then you hold your breath."

Williamsport (9-2) trailed Fort Hill (11-0) 40-35 entering the final quarter, and both teams shot the ball well down the stretch - the Wildcats made 6 of 9 in the final eight minutes, the Sentinels 6 of 10.

Sean Dixon - who led Williamsport with 16 points - made two free throws with 1:42 left to tie the game at 50. Brooks made two foul shots at the other end with 1:33 left to make it 52-50, before Dixon answered with a short jumper after he pivoted twice to free himself on the right elbow with 1:14 to play.

The Wildcats had two opportunities to take the lead. Jeff Ryan missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 57.1 seconds left, and Dixon forced up a 13-footer that did not drop with 21 seconds left.

Fort Hill brought the ball up and got it to Brooks, who dribbled left but could not get past Jamison. Brooks then pivoted away from the basket and let fly.

After the shot swished, Williamsport called timeout before the buzzer sounded, and the clock was reset to 1.4 seconds. Eric Wilfong got off a halfcourt shot that hit the backboard and the right side of the rim before bouncing away.

"It came down to the final two possessions, and we didn't make a play," Mowbray said.

Williamsport opened the game on a 6-0 run and closed the first half with an 11-4 spurt to take a 28-26 halftime lead, using screens and off-the-ball cuts to generate good shots. But the Wildcats' ball movement was not as crisp in the third quarter as Fort Hill outscored Williamsport 14-7 in the frame.

"We knew they were in a little foul trouble, so we tried to go inside," Mowbray said. "The offense went stagnant, and that's partly my fault. We got back to what got us there early in the fourth quarter. We were running our offense and were a little more productive."

Greg Minnick finished with 10 points and Wilfong added nine for the Wildcats, who made 13 of 21 foul shots.

Darren Graham had 11 points and Ryan Brooks added 10 for the Sentinels, who made 13 of 14 foul shots.

"They gave us a tough game last year," Eirich said. "Scott did a great job bringing that program back to where it used to be, and they're always a tough game."

Williamsport will travel to Fort Hill on Feb. 4.

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