Jan. 29, 2014 — Time after time, Raceland’s Jacob Blair has been called upon to hit a shot when the Rams need one.
Thursday night in the 16th Region All “A” Semifinals against West Carter was no exception.
Blair’s running 25-foot 3-point basket at the buzzer dropped in to the bottom of the net to send Raceland to the championship with a 68-67 win over West Carter.
Coach Bob Trimble said he was looking to get the ball to Tyler Morris but he was heavily guarded. Blair curled past the defender on the right near sideline and took off with 3.7 seconds to go.
“Jacob caught the ball and did the rest,” Raceland coach Bob Trimble said. “He’s made big shots last year and this year. And he does that as well as any kid I’ve seen but we were lucky.”
Blair finished with 26 points on the night, but none bigger than the final three to give Raceland (9-5) an opportunity to win the the small school region tournament.
While it was jubilation for the Rams, it was heartbreak for the Comets as they fought back and had an opportunity to win the game. Braden Brown would hit a free thrown to put the Comets (4-10) up 67-65 and just one play from getting back in to the All “A” Championship.
But Comets coach Jeremy Webb’s ball club was 25-of-46 from the free throw line.
“I can’t fault our effort and we played as hard as we needed to play to win the game,” Webb said. “But when you miss 21 free throws, we shouldn’t have been in that situation. The game should not have gone in to overtime. We would not have been in that position to lose on a last second shot if we knock more of those down.”
The Comets missed the front end of two free throw shots several times. Webb called those opportunities “momentum killers.”
“It’s hard to build off of that when those things happen,” Webb said. “We’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves.”
Even though the game was in overtime, West Carter missed four big charity tosses in the extra period.
West had the game won in regulation leading 55-53 before Raceland’s Tyler Morris hit a layup with four seconds to go tie the game.
In overtime, both teams would score quickly to gain momentum. Braden Brown’s layup with 37 second remaining gave West it’s final lead.
Raceland would fall to eventual champion Elliott County 54-46.
The Comets returned to action Tuesday night against Bath County (after press time.) They will face rival East Carter Friday night in Olive Hill at 7:30 p.m.
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.