SMITHFIELD — Corinth Holders rallied from a 15-point deficit in the final seven minutes of play to steal a Two Rivers 3A Conference road win over Smithfield-Selma Friday night, 57-56.
SSS led 56-55 with 90 seconds to play but the Pirates’ Tori Carmichael came up with a steal. Carmichael pushed the ball ahead to teammate Dymon Walker who landed a thunderous dunk to put Corinth Holders ahead.
Walker scored nine of his team-high 19 points during the fourth-quarter run.
The win moves Corinth Holders to 2-2 and within a game of first place in the conference and drops Smithfield-Selma to 1-3.
The Spartans would get two more chances to regain the lead. A drive to the basket by Tonio Mayo glanced off the rim with 25 seconds left and the Spartans quickly fouled when Corinth Holders came away with the rebound. Smithfield-Selma caught a break when the Pirates missed both bonus free throws at the other end and Smithfield-Selma again had a chance to go on top.
A timeout with seven seconds to play gave the Spartans a chance to draw something up but an off-balance floater in the lane missed the mark and a buzzer-beating putback attempt underneath spun out.
A defensive change sparked the Pirates in the fourth quarter.
“We changed to man to man in the fourth quarter and that seemed to up our effort level,” said Corinth Holders coach Chris Davis. “We were not in sync the entire night on offense. We never really got into our sets. The SSS defense had a lot to do with that.
“In the fourth, we started to turn defense into offense and that accounted for the most of the comeback.”
Davis also praised the second-half efforts of Carmichael on defense and Walker, Ki-yon Walden and Alan Forrest on the boards. Forrest finished with a game-high 16 rebounds and added 10 points. Walker pulled down 10 boards; Warren had nine boards, 13 points.
Smithfield-Selma coach James Robinson wasn’t happy about the execution down the stretch.
“I called three different timeouts in the fourth quarter and told them what I wanted them to do and we had someone who wanted to do their own thing,” Robinson said. “Basketball’s a team sport. Maybe, just maybe we’re going to grow up and understand it takes five people on the court doing the same thing.”
Jeffrey David had 21 points for Smithfield-Selma (4-13 overall), while Zay Best added 15 and Quantez Leach 10.
SSS led just 40-34 near the end of the third quarter but surged to an 11-2 run to set up the 15-point cushion. Two breakaway dunk attempts in the fourth quarter by the Spartans missed and both were rebounded by the Pirates (3-13).
“That’s four points and we lost by one. We continue to want to be on ESPN,” Robinson said. “We’re much better than we’re showing because we continue to be a bunch of individuals. Play as a team you win, turn into individuals, you lose.”
Corinth Holders outscored SSS 21-5 the rest of the way after SSS’s fourth-quarter-opening scoring spurt.