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Banks County won 68-66 over Athens Academy on Friday in a furiously contested game that came down to the very final moments of the matchup.
With 1.2 seconds left in the game, Isaac Rorey lined up at the free-throw line.
Just seconds earlier, Westbrook Adams nailed a 3-pointer to pull Athens Academy within one of Banks County. Then Banks County had missed one at the line, meaning the Spartans were down two. Rorey needed to make both foul shots to tie the game.
He and Adams had been crucial to the Spartans’ comeback — the duo had combined for 26 points in the second half — and now, Rorey had a chance to clinch overtime for his team, sending them to one last frame. Rorey lined up, took a breath and attempted the shots.
He missed both.
That was the theme of the game for the Spartans, mounting comeback after comeback only to fall short repeatedly. With three minutes left in the game, Adams had netted another 3, pulling Athens Academy within 2.
Banks County called a timeout, trying to stifle ACAD’s momentum. In the huddle, coach Don Hurlburt said he knew his team had a chance to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
“We can win the game, but we have to get some stops on defense,’” Hurlburt said. “It’s a one-possession game, we’ve got to get stops — and we couldn’t get a timely stop, until right at the end.”
Adams led the Spartans on the night, scoring 21 points and hitting three 3-pointers in the final frame of the game. Rorey followed him closely, adding 16 points of his own on the night.
“(Adams is) a great shooter, and we’re trying to get him to be more aggressive,” Hurlburt said. “He played great at Providence, and he played great again tonight. Going forward, we’re going to need that. He played his heart out, and he was hitting big shots.”
For all the offense that he could muster, Athens Academy just couldn’t stop Banks County from putting the ball in the basket. The Leopards had four players score in double figures on Friday.
“It’s difficult to lose one like that on your home court, but we competed,” Hurlburt said. “It’s not like we lost to a bad team. We just have to go back to work, keep trying to get better and stay the course.”
The Spartans got back on track with a win over Mt. Zion on Monday. The next step on their path is a road matchup against East Jackson High School on Wednesday after press time.