Josh Strickland blocked a shot and Tyrek Hayes altered another in the final seven seconds as host Elkin edged East Wilkes, 43-41, in a Conference 6 basketball game Tuesday night.
“We got some great stops during the last minute,” Elkin coach Kenneth Abrams said. “Josh had a great block.”
The Buckin’ Elks led 41-38 after Hayes hit one of two free throws with 1:31 to play. East Wilkes’ Dillon Gray, who led all scorers with 14, nailed a 3 to tie the game at 1:14. Kody King, who led Elkin with 12, then scored inside with 46 seconds to play to put the Buckin’ Elks up by two and set up the defensive heroics.
“We executed what we wanted to,” East Wilkes coach Justin Call said. “Their kid just made a great block on the baseline play.
The game didn’t look like it was headed for an exciting finish early. The Buckin’ Elks jumped out to a 16-3 lead after a quarter and led by as much as 14 in the second quarter. Clint Henderson then scored all six of his points and Chandler Bare got a putback at the buzzer as the Cardinals closed the half on a 9-3 run.
“We were getting layup looks,” Call said. “We were just missing them. I told them they were fine. It was big to get it under 10 at halftime.”
Elkin stretched their lead back out to 13 after King scored inside again with 4:36 remaining, but their lead could have been more. Three technical fouls, all in protest of calls, on the Cardinals led to six free throws and three possessions. The Buckin’ Elks converted just two free throws and scored only on the third possession on King’s play. A potential 12- to 15-point swing over a two-minute period was only four.
Jathan Sales, who finished with 13 points, scored 10 of East Wilkes’ 12 points as the Cardinals closed out at third quarter on a 12-4 run. On the final play of the period, Sales ripped down a defensive rebound - one of eight on the night - and raced to mid-court before hitting a buzzer-beater to end the third.
“They took the momentum away from us,” Abrams said. “We went to sleep on defense. Defense triggers offense. We’ve been preaching that all year.
“I thought East Wilkes played very tough tonight,” Abrams continued. “When you got kids who don’t give up; you can build on that.”
“We were fortunate enough to get a win.”
Elkin, weather permitting, hosts Wilkes Central tonight. East Wilkes is at North Wilkes.
East Wilkes (0-22, 0-13): Dillon Gray 6-0-14, Chandler Bare 1-1-3, Andrew Nance 2-0-4, Jathan Sales 5-2-13, Zach Nixon 0-1-1, Clint Henderson 2-2-6. Totals: 16-FG 6-8-FT 41.
Elkin (4-19, 2-11): Jamile Hayes 2-2-6, Tyrek Hayes 1-3-5, Raz Walker 1-0-3, Josh Strickland 2-0-5, Kody King 4-3-12, Josiah Blevins 5-0-10, Daniel Brinegar 1-0-2. Totals: 16-FG 8-24-FT 43.
EW16 8 13 6 - 43
E 3 13 16 9 - 41
3-Pt. FG: EW 3 (Gray 2, Sales); E 3 (Walker, Strickland, King). Total Fouls: E 11, EW 15. Fouled Out: None. Technicals: EW 3 (Henderson, Coach Call, Gray). Officials: Moore, Nelms, Frasher.