HENDERSONVILLE Sawyer Taylor didn’t think his shot was going in.
However, as his final shot attempt on Wednesday evening proved, looks can be deceiving.
Taylor banked in a 3-pointer from the right corner with 25 seconds remaining, giving Station Camp the lead for good as the Bison captured a 57-56 victory over Whites Creek to win the Beech Holiday Tournament for the second consecutive season.
The Bison senior thought he had missed when he initially let go of the ball after receiving a pass from classmate Keaton Dotson.
“Keaton passed it to me, and I fumbled with it in my hands,” Taylor said. “I knew everybody would be yelling at me to shoot it, so I shot it. As soon as I let it go, I was like, ‘oh, I just screwed up the game.’ Luckily, it hit the side of the backboard, spun, hit the backboard and went in. It was just one of those lucky shots I guess.”
Junior point guard Chase Freeman hit two free-throws with four seconds to play to seal the outcome.
Whites Creek’s Isaiah Bowers hit an uncontested 3-pointer at the buzzer to create the one-point margin.
The Cobras (7-7) led by one point with two minutes to play thanks to a pair of free throws from Ruot Monyyong, but after a series of missed shots and turnovers, Taylor’s go-ahead basket gave the Bison (16-0) a 55-53 lead.
“It must have been a pretty fun game to watch I guess,” Station Camp head coach Seth Massey said. “Whites Creek did a very good job, and they’re a tough team to play against.”
Seconds later, Monyyong had a chance to tie the game with a layin, but senior Yalen Reed blocked the shot. Junior Kody Eden cleared out the loose ball. Whites Creek’s bench contended that the play should have resulted in a goal-tending violation, which would have counted the basket, but officials did not agree.
Reed began the game with a flourish, scoring Station Camp’s first 14 points en route to a game-high total of 24. Reed made four 3-pointers in the first quarter and added a dunk for good measure as the Bison led 17-11 after the opening period.
“Yalen’s had a start like that before, when we played Rossview,” Taylor said. “That’s not something we haven’t seen before, but we knew (Whites Creek) would make an adjustment so that we couldn’t rely on him scoring all our points.”
However, the Cobras kept pace, especially with Monyyong’s inside presence. The 6-foot-10, 185-pound junior center had his way in the rebounding department, collecting 21 boards – 10 on the offensive side – and scoring 20 points. He also blocked eight shots.
“We went at (Monyyong),” Massey said. “He blocked eight shots, and it seemed like he had more than that. But I didn’t see our guys shying away from him.”
Taylor added, “It was hard attacking the rim. They were definitely a difficult match.”
Bowers added 19 points for the Cobras, hitting five of Whites Creek’s six 3-pointers.
Station Camp led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but the Cobras strung together a 10-0 run to tie the game at 49 with 3:54 remaining. Whites Creek outscored the Bison by a 17-8 margin over the game’s final 9:49.
“We played three days in a row and kind of got what we wanted to get out of the tournament,” Massey said. “It was good conditioning. I felt like, win or lose, we got some quality opponents for three straight games.”
Freeman provided eight assists for the Bison, who have won 24 consecutive regular-season contests dating back to last season.
Reed was named the tournament’s most valuable player, and Eden and Dotson were also all-tournament selections. Bowers, Monyyong and Johnathon Richardson were also on the all-tournament team.
Station Camp plays at Father Ryan on Tuesday before resuming District 9-AAA play against visiting Lebanon on Friday.
Reach Chris Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter @CB_SumnerSports.
WHITES CREEK (56) – Ruot Monyyong 20, Isaiah Bowers 19, JaQuan Brooks 6, Johnathon Richardson 6, Kenneth Holmes 3, Chris Daniels 2.
STATION CAMP (57) – Yalen Reed 24, Hayden Baldwin 6, Kody Eden 6, Chase Freeman 6, Keaton Dotson 5, Sawyer Taylor 5, Thomas Zazzaro 3, Peyton Anderson 2.
Half: 37-33, Station Camp. Three-point goals: Whites Creek 6 (Bowers 5, Holmes 1), Station Camp 9 (Reed 6, Dotson 1, Taylor 1, Zazzaro 1). Records: Whites Creek 7-7, Station Camp 16-0.