SILER CITY — A.J. Alston’s three-pointer from the right corner with 49.1 seconds to go in a four-minute extra session gave Chatham Charter the lead for good as the Knights rallied from a 13-point …
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SILER CITY — A.J. Alston’s three-pointer from the right corner with 49.1 seconds to go in a four-minute extra session gave Chatham Charter the lead for good as the Knights rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to defeat South Stokes 55-52 in overtime in opening-round action of the NCHSAA 2019 Men’s 1A West basketball state playoffs Tuesday night in Julia-Brent Milholen Gymnasium.
Raising its overall ledger to 27-4 with its first-ever post-season win at home, 11th-seed Chatham Charter now travels to Hayesville on Thursday to face the sixth-seed Yellowjackets (21-5) in a second-round contest, while the 22nd-seed Sauras closed out the year with a record of 8-18.
Jordan Hamilton notched a double-double for the Knights with 18 points and a dozen rebounds while Connor Murphy added 15 points as Chatham Charter connected on 44 percent (18-of-41) of its field goal attempts.
Tyliq Hairston led a trio of South Stokes players in double figures with a game-high 19 points, Ryan Tilley came off the bench to toss in 15 and Landon Parsons chipped in 11 as the Sauras shots 36 percent (15-of-42) from the floor.
“After falling behind by 13 early in the second half we dug down deep on defense, got some stops and managed to take South Stokes out of its rhythm,” said Knights’ coach Jason Messier. “We started attacking the basket against their 1-3-1 zone and played with a refuse-to-lose attitude, while doing a great job on the boards.”
Sauras’ coach Jason Clark related it was a frustrating loss after his team had built a double-digit lead in the third period.
“We began playing as individuals in the second half and it cost us the game,” remarked Clark. “We didn’t look for kick-outs and started forcing off-balance shots, while Chatham Charter got good inside position on their end of the court which gave them a lot of second-chance opportunities. Rebounding has been an issue for us all year as we have relied on our guards, and while we tried to draw Hamilton away from the basket we never could find a way to get him out of the paint.”
Behind six points from Hamilton, the Knights fashioned an 11-6 first-period advantage before Tilley’s trey from the left wing with 4.5 seconds remaining in the frame trimmed the margin to two.
Tilley’s conventional three-point play with 5:31 left in the second stanza broke a 17-all standoff and triggered a 9-3 quarter-ending run that gave South Stokes a 26-20 lead at intermission.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Parsons and Tilley plus a Hairston free throw to begin the third period gave the Sauras’ their biggest advantage of the evening prior to Murphy firing in seven points to spark a 13-4 outburst by Chatham Charter that narrowed the gap to four entering the fourth quarter.
A pair of Hamilton foul shots with 47.0 seconds to go in regulation play put the Knights up 46-45, giving them their first lead since early in the second stanza, but following Cole Milholen’s free throw with 10.8 seconds showing on the clock, Hairston’s lane drive with 3.4 seconds left sent the game into a four-minute OT period.
Following Hairston’s bank shot in the lane with 1:08 remaining in the extra session that gave South Stokes its last advantage at 51-50, Alston’s trey put Chatham Charter up by two.
After a Hairston foul shot cut the margin to one, the Knights increased their lead to three on charity tosses by Murphy and Alston before the Sauras missed two open looks for three-pointers by Shemar Dalton and Hairston in the final seconds as Chatham Charter held on for the win.