They are called free throws, but they can sometimes cost you the game.
That was the case Friday night at Rock Hill as the South Pointe Stallions defeated the Rock Hill Bearcats 60-53. Rock Hill made only 9-of-26 from the charity stripe while their guests hit 30-of-49. Dennis Brown led the way for the victors by stroking 18-of-24 himself from the line, including 10-of-15 in the fourth quarter as the Stallions held off a furious comeback attempt by the Bearcats. Brown had 12 of his game-high 24 points in the period. Zy Williams had 16 for South Pointe, including nine in the first eight minutes. He was 7-for-9 on free throws.
An increased emphasis by the officials on hand-checking has led to an inordinate amount of fouls and produced long, choppy basketball games with no flow. Rock Hill was whistled for 33 fouls to South Pointe's 26.
The Stallions never trailed in the game as they got out to a 12-7 start after one quarter. Rock Hill got as close as 14-12 early in the second, but that was as close as they would get. Brown's eight points in the period, including the final four, would allow South Pointe to pull out to a 29-16 halftime edge.
A 13-4 spurt by the home team in the third, punctuated by a three-pointer from Japree Perry, allowed them to cut into the lead. Perry had nine of his team-high 14 in the quarter, and the score was 38-29 headed to the fourth.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Andrew Barber with 6:37 left cut it to 40-34, but the Stallions answered right back with an and-1 from Devion Burris on the other end. Brown was fouled again on their next possession and hit both free throws. A bucket by Jkhari Miller and two more free throws from Brown completed an 8-0 run that made it 48-34 South Pointe.
The Bearcats didn't stop coming and Barber's three with 1:23 left cut it 52-46. Thailand Adams' putback of a missed three made it 54-50 with 37 ticks left. But on the ensuing inbounds, Williams caught Rock Hill napping and leaked out all by himself at the other end of the court for an easy bucket and 56-50 lead. After a Bearcats miss, Chaqavis Hopkins hit two free throws to basically ice it.
RH;7;9;13;24 - 53
SP;12;17;9;22 - 60
Individual scoring - SP: Dennis Brown 24, Zy Williams 16, Pete Branham 2, Jkhari Miller 2, Lamario Pendergrass 2, Gabe Kirk 7, Devion Burris 7. RH: Japree Perry 14, Thailand Adams 5, Jordan McCraw 7, Andrew Barber 7, Lance Crayton 6, James Lindsay 6, Dre Gilyard 2, Tay Brevard 6. Team fouls - SP: 26 RH: 33. Records - SP: 1-0, RH 0-3.