By Carey Phillips
Jed West’s layup as time expired lifted Smoky Mountain to a 46-44 Mountain Six Conference men’s basketball victory over Brevard on Jan. 20 at the SM gym.
West and Hunter Cabe both had 12 points as the Mustangs evened their MSC mark at 1-1. Ryan Waliezer added 10 points.
Brevard’s Chris Wynn led all scorers with 20 points, and Jaylen Carver had 11.
Waliezer had a team high three assists, including one to West for the winning basket.
It came after the Blue Devils tied the score for the fourth time in the final period at 44-44 on a three-pointer by Sammy Kessinger with seven seconds to play.
Moments before, SM held its largest lead of the game, 43-39, on Cabe’s basket at the 2:03 mark.
After Kessinger’s shot tied it, Brevard called time out to set up its defense. The Mustangs were out of time outs but took advantage of the opportunity to set up the game-winning play.
“We were just trying to get to the rim with Ryan,” Coach Adam Phillips said. “We had talked about making sure we had players at the foul line extended. If their defender committed to the ball, they could back cut. Jed’s man went to stop the ball, and Jed did that.”
Wynn hit the first two baskets of the game, and Brevard led throughout the first half.
A 14-7 advantage at the quarter break became 23-15 on Joe Powell’s foul shot with 1:06 to play in the half.
West scored five in a 9-2 run as SM took its first lead, 31-29, on Cabe’s layup with 2:40 to play in the third period.
The score was 33-33 entering the fourth quarter.
“There were numerous times Brevard had runs, but we had an answer every time,” Phillips said. “It was a roller coaster. They continued to go up five or seven points. Finally in the third quarter we got on track, and the game then went back and forth.”
Cabe pulled down 12 rebounds.
“We were very proud of our guys,” Phillips said. “They had three athletic big men. We did a pretty decent job on the boards and played well defensively.”
West made four field goals, including a three-pointer, and was three of four at the line. Cabe hit five field goals and two free throws. Waliezer’s only field goal was a trey, and he connected on seven foul shots.
Lawson Wike added six points, Ethan Hooper scored three, Brett Richmond had two and Max Buchanan made a free throw.
The Mustang JVs got off to a slow start but rallied for a 60-39 win. Brevard led 14-4 after the first quarter, but SM was up 25-23 at halftime and 49-27 through three periods.
Sawyer Snider scored 14 points. Antonio Lorenzo followed with 12, and Carson Seagraves had 11.
“I felt like it took about a half for us to really wake up,” Coach Zeb Capps said. “The big turning point was holding them to four points in the third quarter. We started playing defense and doing the little things. We had some kids step up. Antonio Lorenzo played well down low, and Cameron Fowler distributed the ball well.”
He added that Dev Hari shot well from outside.