Every second matters.
Davenport North senior Sam Wellman demonstrated that in the final seconds of third quarter Tuesday of a game at Davenport West.
Wellman found himself with room take a couple of dribbles up the left side and let a half-court shot fly, a shot that found the middle of the backboard before falling through the net to propel the Wildcats to a 76-60 Mississippi Athletic Conference victory over the Falcons.
“It gave us momentum at a time when we needed it,’’ Wellman said.
All of a sudden, the three-point lead North held with one minute remaining in the third quarter had grown to 55-47 heading into the final frame.
Quincy Wiseman, who first answered a basket by Aldane Barrett that had pulled West within 50-47 late in the third quarter, then knocked down a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the fourth to extend the Wildcats’ edge to 11 points.
“That half-court shot gave us a spark that we needed,’’ North coach Marc Polite said after his team won its sixth straight game.
“West had a good plan, disrupted the flow of a lot of things we’ve been able to do lately. Sam’s shot and a couple of baskets other guys stepped up and hit around that time seemed to settle us down.’’
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The Wildcats, led by 27 points from Wiseman and 18 from Jayden Houston, needed that after the Falcons rallied.
West needed a comeback in an intensity-filled match-up with saw the Falcons collect more turnovers, 13, than points, 11, in the opening quarter.
That helped North open a 41-27 advantage late in the second quarter before West used the skill of Jamal Winston and Barrett to play its way back into the game.
Winston scored seven of his team-leading 21 points in the third quarter and teamed with Barrett for 13 of the Falcons’ 18 points in a quarter which saw West string together a run of 13 unanswered points.
That allowed the Falcons to pull within 48-45 on a Barrett basket with 2 minutes, 1 second remaining in the third quarter and stay within three when he scored again with 1:36 left in the quarter.
Wiseman’s score, part of an 11-of-15 effort from the field, and Wellman’s half-court contribution to North’s collection of 10 3-point baskets, proved problematic for the Falcons (2-6, 0-6 MAC).
“I’m proud of the way we fought back after turning it over too many times in the first quarter, but we relaxed for a couple of seconds there late in the third quarter, he takes a couple of steps, shoots and they capitalize,’’ West coach David Robinson said.
“You can’t take a second off, especially when you’re behind. It gave them a cushion and then they finished things off at the line.’’
North (7-3, 5-1) finished things off with a 10-of-12 touch at the line over the final 1:23.
“I’m not sure this a game we would have won earlier in the season, but in the fourth quarter, we got back to running our game and did a good job at the line to finish it off,’’ Polite said.