Meek’s Ian Sargent (23) goes up for a shot in front of Sumiton Christian’s Jeremy Brown during their game at Meek High School on Monday night. The Tigers moved to 7-0 on the season with a 45-44 victory.
Daily Mountain Eagle - Johnathan Bentley
By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
ARLEY — Meek is 7-0 — barely.
Sumiton Christian missed three free throws in the final five seconds as 10th-ranked Meek pulled out a 45-44 victory in their 1A showdown at Meek High School on Monday night.
The Tigers jumped out to a 9-0 lead and seemed poised for a blowout until Sumiton Christian flipped the script midway through the first quarter. The final three quarters featured eight lead changes and six ties.
The Eagles were done in at three-throw line where they were just 1 of 11 on the night.
“We were lucky to get away with a win,” Meek coach Allan Henderson said. “It’s the first time it’s been close for us this year. We were lucky we hit some shots in the fourth quarter to keep it close, and we were lucky they didn’t shoot free throws well. I told the guys, ‘Now you see how important free throws are.’ We’ll take the win. It’s nice to be 7-0.”
Meek led 16-15 after the first quarter, but Sumiton Christian led at both the half (27-22) and after three quarters (38-35).
The Eagles made just three baskets in the final period.
Luke Sherer hit a shot to cut the Sumiton Christian lead to a point early in the fourth quarter. Judson Laird responded for the Eagles, pushing the lead back to three points at 40-37.
Meek’s Jacob Woodard knocked down two free throws to make the score 40-39 with 6:06 remaining in the game.
Payton Key put the Tigers on top at 41-40 with 3:36 left, but Laird gave Sumiton Christian a 42-41 lead just 17 seconds later with a layup.
Ian Sargent knocked down two clutch free throws at the 3:04 mark, giving Meek the lead for good at 43-42.
Sumiton Christian had its chances to retake the lead, but Meek’s Caleb Aaron blocked shots on back-to-back possessions, keeping the Tigers’ lead at one point.
After Aaron missed a pair of free throws with 26.2 seconds left, Sumiton Christian’s Josh Mitchell was fouled with just 4.3 seconds remaining. His first 1-and-1 attempt missed the mark, but Jeremy Brown came down with the rebound and was fouled with 2.1 seconds on the clock, giving the Eagles one last chance.
Both of Brown’s shots came up short and Aaron pulled down the rebounds to clinch the win.
Meek is 2-0 against Sumiton Christian. The Tigers won the first meeting 41-28 on the road.
“I think Sumiton Christian did a great job of playing defense. They changed the whole dynamic after the first four minutes of the game and just locked us down. They took away a lot of things we were able to do in the first game. I told our guys they would be ready to play,” Henderson said.
For Meek, Woodard led the way with 16 points, Sherer added 10 and Aaron put in seven. For the Eagles, Isaiah Wright had 12 points, all in the first half, Brown had eight and Laird added six.
Meek plays at Lynn today and hosts Falkville on Thursday.
Sumiton Christian (4-3) hosts Addison Thursday and plays at Berry on Friday.
Meek 42, Sumiton Christian 17
Meek won its fifth straight game, routing Sumiton Christian on Monday night.
The Tigers led 5-1 after a low-scoring first quarter, but took control in the second period, outscoring Sumiton Christian 12-6 for a 17-7 halftime lead. Meek (7-3) pushed its lead to 31-11 after three quarters.
Hali Barton led the Tigers with nine points, both Sevanna Banks and Bailee Fincher had eight and Amanda Cunningham put in seven.
For Sumiton Christian, both Lexi Jackson and Bellah Machen had six points.
Monday’s other scores
Fayette County 72, Dora 67
Fultondale 62, Curry 57
Falkville 61, Addison 54
Dora 48, Fayette County 45
Fultondale 37, Curry 33
South Lamar 55, Cordova 50
Phil Campbell 69, Winston Co. 44