By Thomas Sellers Jr.
A well-known game on basketball courts and playgrounds across America is “21”.
The object of the game is for an individual to score 21 points by making a field goal and hitting free throws reaching the amount. On Feb. 2, the Rossville Wolves took on a challenge of a new type of 21.
Trailing 31-10 in the second quarter, it appeared the Wolves were poised to be blown out of the TRA Gymnasium by the host Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels.
Rossville staged a rally to over come the 21-point deficit and eventually sent the game to overtime with the score 49-49.
The Rebels settled down and made enough plays in the extra session to win 59-55.
Victory appeared a sure thing for TRA early in the contest taking an 11-0 lead. Sheldon Spence, Carter Weakley and AJ Hightower all contributed to the early run.
To close out the first quarter, Darien Weakley and Tino Garibay added to the TRA onslaught to make the score 16-7.
To begin the second quarter, Carter Weakley drained a three-pointer to make the score 19-7. Hightower followed with a layup to make the tally 21-7.
The Rebels kept the offensive outburst going with buckets from Ryan “Duff Man” Duffy and “Johnie Basketball” Sanfratello. TRA was ahead 25-10.
Then Sanfratello and Hightower hit three-pointers to make the score 31-10 late in the second quarter.
All of sudden the TRA offense took a break. Meanwhile the Wolves started to find their groove closing out the first half on a 14-1 run to make the score 32-24.
In the third quarter Rossville kept the rally going cutting the TRA lead to 36-32. The Rebels closed out the third quarter with the final 6 points courtesy of a Hightower jumper, Carter Weakley drive to the rim and Sanfratello jumper.
Ahead 42-32 entering the fourth quarter, it appeared the Rebels were back in stride. Then Rossville staged another rally outscoring TRA 14-0 to take a 46-42 lead.
It was TRA’s turn to comeback with Hightower hitting a three-pointer to make the score 46-45. At the minute- and 46-second mark, Hightower regain the lead for TRA with a jumper.
Rossville tied the game at 47-47 with a foul shot. And with 29.7 seconds left, the Wolves grabbed the advantage at 49-47.
TRA Head Coach David Hunt had time to set up a play and get the ball into the hands of his clutch senior Sanfratello. Already with a buzzer beater on his resume’ this season, Sanfratello drove to the rim and picked up a foul.
He made both free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining. The game went to overtime deadlocked at 49-49.
In the extra session, Rossville jumped ahead 52-49 with a three-pointer. Spence, the player who stared the early onslaught with a triple, stepped up with another triple in overtime to tie the game at 52-52.
The Wolves took the lead one more time with a bucket. TRA closed out the game on a 7-1 run to win.
Carter Weakley hit a three-pointer and a pair of foul shots. Sanfratello added the other 2 points courtesy of free throws.