It didn’t take long for the momentum to change when the Smithfield-Selma and Erwin Triton boys basketball teams met in a Two Rivers 3A Conference contest Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, there was no bouncing back as the Hawks took the 70-53 road victory, outscoring Smithfield-Selma by 16 points in the fourth quarter.
In the opening moments of the final period, a Malik Frazier 3-pointer from the wing gave the Spartans a 45-43 lead in what had been a see-saw of a meeting up until that point with 12 lead changes.
On the Hawks’ ensuing trip down the court, a foul was called against Smithfield-Selma as both teams were attempting to track down a loose ball.
After tempers flared on both sides, the Spartans (6-8, 1-2) were assessed three technical fouls and Triton one technical.
Triton hit 4-of-6 free throws and Britton Smith’s subsequent jumper turned the solitary trip past mid-court into six quick points for the visitors.
The Hawks (6-8, 2-1) proceeded to outscore Smithfield-Selma 20-4 over the next five minutes to take total command of the conference tilt.
“I thought we had a great week of practice coming up to (the game), and I thought we had all the momentum up until the fiasco,” said Spartans coach James Robinson. “It took away from a very well played game up until that point and turned it into something else.”
Complicating matters further for Smithfield-Selma over the final seven minutes were unforced turnovers as the Spartans turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter with many passes getting tipped by a tenacious Triton backcourt.
In addition to leading his club with 18 points and eight assists, D’Angelo Harris picked the Spartans’ collective pocket four times as the Hawks amassed 17 steals on the night.
“We were weak with the basketball,” Robinson said. “We were weak-minded because we let emotions get involved but we were also very weak with the basketball.”
Joining Harris in double figures for Triton was Dequill Avery (15 points, eight rebounds) and Byron Massey (10).
The sudden turn of events in the final seven minutes of the contest overshadowed what had been a solid Smithfield-Selma effort up until that point.
The Spartans were strengthened by a balanced scoring attack and stingy defense that allowed them to be in a great position to win the game late in the second half.
Frazier led Smithfield-Selma with 13 points but had plenty of help from his teammates. D.J. Williams had 11 points; Raequan Smith added nine while Marquise Longmire and Josh Raiford each posted seven points.
“We started spreading the ball, getting it inside, the inside was kicking it out and we had a couple of threes at that point which was great,” Robinson said, describing his team’s play before the key turning point. “(That) absolutely stole our thunder from that point on.”
Triton girls 60, Smithfield-Selma 55: The Erwin Triton girls basketball team hit 6-of-9 free throws in the closing minutes of its Two Rivers 3A Conference clash against Smithfield-Selma to hold on to a 60-55 win.
The Hawks’ Tarica Worney was a huge factor in the paint as the junior forward totaled 17 points, 12 rebounds and thee blocks.
The Spartans’ Diamond Blackston spearheaded a late Smithfield-Selma rally, netting 11 of her game high 22 points in the final quarter alone.
Four pivotal offensive put backs early in the fourth quarter gave the visitors an eight-point lead. The Spartans (6-8, 1-2) drew to within 58-55 with 12 seconds to play on a Dazmine Young three-pointer but the Hawks (8-6, 2-1) sealed the game with two late free throws.
Freshman Logan Lee was the only other Spartan, in addition to Blackston, to finish in double figures with 10 points. Young added nine and Parker Watson contributed seven.