It wasn't the most picturesque victory the Assumption boys basketball team has had this season. But it's one the Knights won't forget.
With the members of the school's 1982 state championship team looking on Friday, the Knights did something even that team never did, putting the finishing touches on an unbeaten conference season with a hard-fought 53-47 victory over Davenport West.
The win moves them to 16-0 in the Mississippi Athletic Conference, 18-3 overall, heading into Class 3A substate play Monday against Central DeWitt. It's the first time since 1980 the Knights have gone undefeated in league play.
"We didn't finish plays the way we usually do but our guys just toughed it out," Assumption coach Joe Barrer said as he watched his players cut down the nets. "A lot of credit goes to West. ... We knew this was going to be a battle.
"It kind of looked like it was going to come down to whoever hit the last shot, between Peter (Finn) and Joe Scott."
Finn and Scott, a pair of senior guards, each scored more than half their team's points and at times seemed like the only players on the court capable of locating the hoop.
But in the end, it was another senior guard who secured the win. Assumption's Derek Fulton sank four free throws in the final 13.4 seconds to wrap it up.
The Knights led 49-43 in the final minute after two Finn free throws, but Scott countered with two of his own with 31.7 seconds to go. West narrowed the score to 49-47 when Marlon Stewart stole the ball and got it to Tyrus Johnson for a layup.
The Falcons then made sure they fouled Fulton, who was 1 for 6 from the foul line and 0 for 4 from the field at that point. Fulton said his teammates patted him on the derriere and encouraged him as if he were 10 for 10.
"They just kept saying, ‘You can do it,'" he said.
Get breaking news sent instantly to your inbox
"I have so much faith in him," said Finn, who hit five 3-pointers and scored 27 points. "I have faith in all these guys."
Fulton made both foul shots and when Scott finally missed a shot at the other end, he was the one who grabbed the rebound. The Falcons hacked him again and Fulton made two more free throws with 7.1 seconds remaining.
"That's Derek. That just sums Derek up," Barrer said. "We talk about playing like Knights and making the plays when it counts and he signifies that. It's an honor to coach guys like that."
Scott led West (11-10, 9-7 MAC) with 24 points, but the Falcons, playing without suspended Geo Butler, had trouble coping with Assumption on the boards. They were outrebounded 39-21, 24-8 in the first half.
"This game was for pride," said Scott, whose Falcons host Burlington on Monday in the opening round of 4A play. "We really wanted to get our seventh win (in a row), but we just didn't get it done. We'll have to take out our frustrations in the substate."