Reserve Christian beats Family Christian by one

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 24, 2002


RESERVE – “It was the most exciting game I have been a part of as a coach,” repeated Reserve Christian’s Tim Byrd after the Eagles one-point win over class C foe Family Christian.

The matchup of cross-class rivals kept the full house of fans on the edge of their bleacher seats until Demond Carter stepped up to the line with seven tenths of a second frozen on the clock and the Eagles down by one point, 79-78.

“You talk about pressure,” said Byrd. “But he’s got ice in his veins.”

Carter’s cool persona paid off with his basket for the tie, then sealed the win as his second shot slipped through the net. For the first time in two years and five games, the Eagles celebrated a win over the Flames as the final score shined 80-79.

“The intensity level for all four quarters was amazing,” Byrd continued. “Both teams have very skilled players and the lead swung back and forth. The score was not indicative of the level of defense by both teams. Family Christian is the defending state champs in class C, so this was just like a heavyweight bout.”

Byrd said Friday nights’ game was a collective effort by the Eagles and all of the players had to do their part for a chance at the win. It was that kind of extreme effort, by both teams and all players, that was needed for each team to hold their positions on the court and strive for the lead.

The difference in the game came down to the lone free throw line. The Eagles were 10-11 from the line, while the Flames dropped in only 16 of 24 available points.

Byrd said his team was just fortunate enough when the Flames committed their foul, it was one of the Eagles best free throw shooters, Carter, who finished 7-7 from the line.

The intensity level streaming from both teams resulted in not only two high final scores, but high shooting percentages by both teams. The Flames and Eagles erupted from their locker rooms and scored an immediate 24 and 26 points. Family Christian attempted their full-court press momentarily, but the Eagles paid no attention to it, lead the Flames to make the switch back to a man-to-man defense.

The Eagles maintained their slim two-point lead through the rough tides of the second quarter as the two teams finished with an identical 15 points before halftime.

“Both teams came out focused, but it was one of those nights where our guys put the ball in the hole no matter how closely they were guarded,” replied Byrd.

“At halftime I told them the team that gave up would be the team that lost.”

He said the only thing he knew his team could do against the Flames, was match up as best they could and play them man-to-man.

“Even when the players were tired, they just stayed with their man,” Byrd continued. “The amazing thing was four of our guys had four fouls, which, when you play such a high intensity game, it happens.”

The tense foul trouble gave eight players a shot at the Flames and they used their time to continue their teammate’s struggle. Marshall Williams stepped off the bench for an immediate three pointer, while providing strong defense with Dwayne Myers and Richard Holmes.

Marlon Brumfield’s three-point shot and ensuing foul provided the boost needed to keep the Eagles on their feet during the last two minutes, when Byrd said it was a matter of will that kept them fighting.

The Eagles key to victory came with only 30 seconds left on the clock. Reserve Christian changed from their man-to-man defense to zone and applied pressure. Byrd said he knew the Flames would try to penetrate the zone and go for the foul, but his Eagles held their inside ground, then sent Carter driving down-court for the winning two points.

Carter finished the night with 24 points, while Frankie Francois had no turnovers and 22 points and Brumfield totaled 12 points.