By Bryan Davis
The West Point Green Wave boys showed what they are made of on Tuesday night. Playing down for most of regulation during their bout with the Gentry Rams, West Point embarked on a gutsy fourth quarter performance that pushed the game into an overtime quarter.
Unfortunately for the Green Wave, the Rams refocused and took the North State playoff game 72-60.
“They never quit,” said West Point head coach Brad Cox. “They could have gotten down on themselves and given up, but they never did.”
Indianola opened the game up with six straight points. After getting on the board, Tyrone Saverson and Romeo Williams provided the Green Wave with six additional points in the first quarter.
The Rams, however, were scoring at will, netting 15 in the first, as they took a 15-8 lead into the second period.
For the rest of the first half, West Point battled to stay in the game, but they never could draw even with Gentry.
Daryl Thomas opened the second with a three-pointer, making it 15-11 Gentry. Laquintis Robertson followed that up with a lay-up that brought the score to 15-13.
That would be as close as West Point would get in the second, as the Rams went on to score 15 points, while holding the Green Wave to just eight. This left Indianola with a 30-21 halftime lead.
West Point did not let the deficit affect their play out the gates in the second half. The Green Wave scored seven points before they would be answered by a Gentry three-pointer.
Robertson sank a three to start the half, followed by two from Cortez Malone. Saverson and Thomas added a free throw each, before Malone got four more. Laquante Gaston finished out the period with two points.
Indianola was able to get their offense going about halfway through the third, eventually scoring 13 in the period to take a 43-34 lead into the fourth.
The Green Wave were still not done with Gentry. A.J. Jones got the West Point boys’ last quarter rally off to a good start with two points to start the fourth. Jaquille White threw a three-pointer into the bucket to make it 44-39 Indianola.
Gentry was scoring, but West Point’s offense had come to life in a way that it hadn’t all night, and the score gap was slowly narrowing.
With a little over two minutes left in regulation, the Green Wave did something they had not been able to do all night, and that was catch up with Gentry.
Trailing 49-48, senior Romeo Williams threw up a jump shot that put West Point over the hump with a 50-49 lead. With the final moments of regulation ticking away, West Point extended its lead to 52-50.
With just seconds to go, Gentry threw in a lay-up that tied the game at 52-52.
West Point drove back down the court, got a good look at the bucket, but there would be no shot, due to a charging call. That being said, the Green Wave had still come back from nine, in eight minutes, to force another period.
In the four-minute overtime frame, Indianola had an offensive resurgence. Gentry scored 20 points in those four minutes.
West Point, however, saw their total reach only eight. White, Jones and Robertson accounted for those shots, but the defense could do nothing to stop the Rams, as they ended the Green Wave season with the 12-point victory.
In the game, Malone led the Green Wave with 13 points. Robertson scored a dozen, and Saverson had 10 on the night.
Williams scored eight, White had seven and Jones had a half dozen points. Thomas accounted for the remaining four points in the game for the Green Wave.
The Green Wave improved from an 8-16 record a year ago, to finish 13-14 this season. This included a 4-2 division mark and a win over New Hope during the district tournament.
“We really wanted to get that first playoff win for some momentum going into next season,” Cox said. “Without it, though, these guys are still dedicated to basketball and this program.”