February 14, 2009

Finishing up strong

Every recent game between South Pointe and Rock Hill has seemed to come down to a last-second shot. Friday night's regular-season finale at South Pointe didn't break tradition.

Every recent game between South Pointe and Rock Hill has seemed to come down to a last-second shot. Friday night's regular-season finale at South Pointe didn't break tradition.

Rock Hill's Dominique Cathcart swished a 3-pointer from the corner with 8 seconds left to give Rock Hill a 53-52 lead.

South Pointe junior Tre Erby saw the clock when the shot dropped. He knew he only needed about five seconds to get the ball to the other end of the court for a shot. He got the inbound pass and raced from end line to end line for a game-winning layup as time expired.

South Pointe 54, Rock Hill 53.

"I was just going to go until someone stopped me," Erby said.

No one did. His layup was contested, and he might have been fouled. It didn't matter. He scored and his team won.

Erby finished with a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Rock Hill coach Bobby Stevens couldn't have asked for much more from his team.

"Disappointed? Yes. Did we play our hearts out? Yes," Stevens said after a long talk in the locker room with his team.

"South Pointe just made one better play. I'm very proud of our kids. The team I coached tonight is the team I want to coach," Stevens added.

The loss was a tough one for Rock Hill. A win would have given the Bearcats a playoff spot. The loss meant the Bearcats would need some help from Blythewood to qualify.

Blythewood lost at home Ridge View, 56-43, on Friday. That was what Rock Hill was hoping for -- the Bearcats are in.

The game had implications for South Pointe as well.

South Pointe lost a tight game Tuesday night at Ridge View. A win would have given the Stallions sole possession of first place. But the 63-62 loss on a putback with 2.6 seconds on the clock left coach Dwayne Hartsoe with one scenario to win the region title.

Part of the scenario was to beat Rock Hill. They also needed Blythewood to pull the upset.

South Pointe will go into the playoffs as a No. 2 seed.

The playoffs start Wednesday. South Pointe will have a home game. Rock Hill will be on the road.

"We lost a tough game Tuesday. We came out flat. I guess we didn't have our guys prepared enough. I thought just playing Rock Hill would have us ready," Hartsoe said.

Rock Hill (6-15, 2-8 Region 4-AAAA) built a 20-10 edge in the first quarter and extended that lead to 30-14 on an Aaron Hemphill basket halfway through the second period. Jatavius Stewart scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the first half and was 3-for-4 on 3s.

South Pointe shut the Bearcats out for the rest of the half and trailed by six points at the break.

Stewart sparked an 8-0 third-quarter run with a drive down the lane. Galen Jenkins made two free throws and Stewart canned two straight jump shots for a 38-28 lead at the 5:02 mark.

Erby retaliated with a jumper and a driving layup. Kendell Childers scored on a putback and freshman point guard Manzey Miller hit the second of his three 3-pointers as the Stallions closed the period on a 10-0 spree to tie the game at 38.

It was the first time South Pointe was even with Rock Hill since a 2-2 tie to start the game.

Erby scored on a leaner in the lane to give the Stallions their first lead of the game, 40-38, to open the fourth stanza.

The lead changed hands four times in the final six minutes. South Pointe led by five, 52-47, when Stewart nailed a 3 from the top of the key with 40 seconds to go. That set the stage for Cathcart's go-ahead 3 and Erby's coast-to-coast buzzer beater.

South Pointe54 Rock Hill53

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