College Hoops: Davidson County survives double overtime thriller
There is no admission charge to watch a Davidson County Community College basketball game. After Wednesday's double-overtime thriller with Central Carolina Community College, fans may have gladly pitched a few bucks into a donation basket.
Big shots were plentiful in the Tarheel Conference game that saw 27 lead changes and 10 ties. Moments after the Cougars' Jenaro Harris hit a 3-ball at the buzzer to force overtime, Gerry Hairston connected at the horn from deep to force a second extra session. With 47 seconds left Hairston again hit a big 3, providing enough cushion for the Storm to escape with a palpitating 106-100 victory. DCCC improves to 1-1 in league play and the Cougars go to 0-1.
“This one was important,” said the sophomore hero of the night. “To win this league we have to win out, so we just have to come out every game and play our hardest.”
Davidson was a free throw away from ending the game in regulation, but Ace Chalmers missed the back end of the double-bonus attempts to leave a sliver of hope with 6.5 seconds left. CCCC rushed down the floor and found Jenaro Harris in the far corner of the gymnasium. He buried the 3-pointer with .2 seconds left to tie it up at 82-82 and force overtime.
Coincidentally, Davidson found themselves in the exact same position in OT. Central Carolina went up by 3 with 6.4 left. This time, Trey Smith pushed the ball up the floor and tossed a pass to Hairston of the wing. He calmly swished it to extend the night five more minutes.
“It was just one of those times where you've gotta just put it up and know it is going in,” Hairston said. “You've got to shoot it with confidence. I got it from my teammate Trey on the break and I just knocked it down.”
The Cougars scored the first two points of double overtime 25 seconds in, but managed only one more point the remainder of the way. Smith came away with a steal and layup with two minutes to go that gave DCCC a lead of 100-99. A little more than a minute later, Hairston bottomed one more 3-pointer to extend the lead to four.
CCCC had its chances, but missed eight free throws in the extra session. Davidson made it a two possession game with a made free throw, and in the final seconds sealed the deal with a rim-rocking alley-oop to C.J. Woodberry.
“They hustle, hustle, hustle,” said Cougar coach Doug Connor. “I hate to say it, but I think we just ran out of gas at the end. We lost our legs, but it is what it is. When we play Davidson it is always like this.”
The Cougars had the right gameplan, packing into a zone defense that forced Davidson to shoot 40 treys – 12 of them went it. Woodberry was the lone inside presence and he came through with 27 points, but most of those came on the break with dunks. Living and dying by the 3-point shot, Davidson did just enough to notch its first Region X win of the year.
“I kept telling the guys to believe in themselves,” said Storm coach Matt Ridge. Their (CCCC) zone was real effective, but we allowed it to be effective. We didn't really attack it.”
Davidson continues to get beat on the boards with the Cougars holding a 63-42 advantage, but the smaller, quicker Storm were able to come away with 19 steals and scored 29 points off of turnovers.
What cost the guests most was their performance at the charity stripe. They went 21-of-40, missing a majority of them second half on.
“If we hit our free throws we do not go to a second overtime,” said Connor. “We have got to finish at the free throw line.”
Chalmers contributed 22 points and eight assists for the Storm, now 11-3 on the season. Hairston had 17 points and Robert Story 14. Julian Bailey had 26 to lead the Cougars.
Davidson hosts Wytheville Community College at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or email@example.com.