Despite battling back from a 13-point deficit to re-take the lead late against Waubonsie Valley on Saturday night, the Rock Island boys’ basketball team fell just a play or two short in a 51-49 loss at Wharton Field House on day two of the inaugural Eastbay Boys Basketball Shootout.
The Rocks (10-6) trailed 40-36 after three quarters, but back-to-back buckets by JaMir Price gave Rocky a 44-41 lead with 2:54 to play. In the back-and-forth final stretch, Derrien Porter (10 points) converted a basket and-one to give the Warriors (13-2) a 48-47 lead with 40.8 seconds left.
After a Price layup missed, RI got another chance after Valley was called for one of its 10 second-half fouls. Solomon Gustafson (eight points) got to the line and made both to pull Rocky ahead by one with under 12 seconds remaining.
With the ball then in the hands of WVHS junior Marcus Skeete, the junior drove to the rim and drew a foul with 0.9 seconds remaining, sinking both to give the Warriors a one-point lead. The Rocks — playing in the bonus — had one last-ditch gasp left on the final inbound play, but Price was called for a blocking foul and WVHS added one final free throw to secure the two-point win. WVHS was called for 17 fouls in the game, with 15 for Rocky.
The team’s ability to battle back is a positive RI head coach Thom Sigel could point to.
With the Rocks trailing the Warriors 37-24 with 4:34 left in the third quarter, Rocky seniors Price and Aaron Voss, along with junior Taurean Holtam, combined in an 11-0 run to get their team in its best position since opening the game with a 7-2 lead.
Voss had five of his seven points in the third quarter, and Holtam also hit a trey in the frame. After a quiet two points in the first half, Price’s first trey of the game capped the 11-0 run. Price finished with 14 points. Holtam, who scored nine of Rocky’s 14 points in the second quarter, also finished with 14.