By Will Nations
Hebron Eagles 63, Immanuel Rams 66
BENTON – The Immanuel Christian Rams weathered a first-half storm to outpace the Hebron Christian Eagles in the second half (40-26) and claim a narrow, 66-63 win Friday night in the MAIS Class-A North-Central tournament at Benton Academy.
“We came out tonight with intensity, but we weren’t doing the little things,” Immanuel Head Coach Greg Watkins said. “We wanted this one real bad. We knew how good Hebron was, and I think that gave us some jitters. After halftime, we came out with a better focus.”
A Jaelin Bankhead game-tying 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter (46-46) sparked the Rams into a 12-0 run during the fourth quarter. Through the run, Immanuel built a nine-point advantage at the 5:26 mark, 55-46.
Hebron’s Collin Moore sparked a late comeback with a 3-pointer from the corner with four minutes, 16 seconds remaining, 58-51. The Eagles trimmed the deficit to as little as three points twice during the final minutes but could not tie or retake the lead.
After two missed free throws by Immanuel’s R.J. Deloach with 10 second left, the Eagles had one more opportunity to send the game into overtime, but Clay Faulkner’s 3-point attempt hit off the front of the rim.
“I thought the first half, we played pretty good ball,” Hebron Christian Head Coach Bruce Franks said. “We lose our point guard during the third quarter, and I am not going to risk a player’s health. The biggest thing to me was the game got really physical all of sudden in the second half. Our kids lost their composure … I didn’t think the game was officiated the same way it was in the first half compared to the second half.”
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