HIGH POINT — T.W. Andrews came through with the key plays in the waning moments to beat rival High Point Central.
The Red Raiders scored the go-ahead points on two free throws by A.J. Herndon with 24.2 seconds left and held the Bison without a shot on their final possession to win 66-63 in nonconference boys basketball Wednesday in Andrews’ George E. Foree Gymnasium.
“I’m proud of the heart my team displayed the whole game,” Andrews coach Cory Dumas said. “The way our kids came together — it just showed that our future is bright. Sometimes they say, ‘Oh, we’re young, so we can lose’ and it’s an excuse. But we don’t believe in excuses.
“I just told my guys to believe — just keep fighting, stay positive, stay together and just believe we’re going to win. Every timeout I tell them we’re going to win. It’s just how I feel. I want them to know that, win, lose or draw, I’m with them. Nobody on our team had a quitting look in their eye. We just felt like we’d win that game.”
The Red Raiders (1-1), trailing by one after Central scored four straight points to lead by one with 1:02 left in the game, had the ball inside the final 30 seconds. Andrews had missed a runner with 40 seconds left, but the Bison had turned the ball over on a long pass with 35.5 seconds left.
Herndon drove the lane and drew contact as he went up for the shot. He made the two free throws with 24.2 seconds left to put the Red Raiders up one. Out of a timeout, Central dribbled upcourt, but Andrews’ Great Shivers came away with a steal and scored on a fastbreak layup just before time expired.
“Coach always tells us that if we attack the basket hard, then we’ll get rewarded if we go up strong,” Herndon said. “So I went up strong, got rewarded and made the free throws.
“That was a big relief,” he said with a laugh, talking about the final defensive stop. “We had to sit down and play defense. I’m glad we got the job done. It felt good.”
D.J. Jackson and Shivers each scored 18 points to lead the Red Raiders (1-1), who hadn’t played since Jan. 5 because the snow Friday bumped their game against the Bison to Wednesday. Herndon added 14 points, while Keyshawn Gunthrop chipped in eight points.
Andrews — starting several reserves because of discipline issues, Dumas said — fell behind 14 points in the first quarter before rallying in the second to lead by three with a minute left. Central led 34-32 into halftime and built a nine-point lead with a minute left in the third.
The margin stayed within one possession until the Bison (0-3) scored on four straight possessions to lead by five with 2:43 left in the game. The Red Raiders answered with scores on four straight possessions to lead by three with 1:28, but again Central scored four straight points to lead by one with 1:02 left.
“We played hard,” Bison coach Joel Battle said. “We gave a lot of effort to try to win a game tonight. Some things didn’t go our way. Some things that we can control that we’ve got to fix and be prepared for our next opportunity.
“What we did in the good stretches was take care of the ball. Being under control with the ball, making good decisions and waiting for the opportunity to get a good shot instead of forcing things. Once we got the lead, we stopped doing those things all of a sudden. They got the lead and we just couldn’t get back.”
Tre Hill scored 18 points, Keith McDuffie Jr. had 12 and Kaden Williams had 10 to lead Central, which has had two of its three games come down to the final seconds. With conference play starting next week, the Bison aren’t far from playing well, Battle said. They just need to execute a little better.
“We’ve got things we can fix,” he said. “If you’ve got stuff you can fix, then there’s always a chance. We’ve been in games and had opportunities. We’ve a few more opportunities to do it — conference starts next week. It’s going to be a growing thing. We’ll just have to use every chance we get — practice, games — to learn from it.”
Both teams play again Friday. Andrews starts PAC-7 2A play at Randleman, while Central visits nonconference opponent Smith. The Red Raiders will then start conference play Saturday evening at home against Eastern Randolph, while the Bison will begin Metro 4A Conference play Tuesday at Northwest Guilford.
The Central-Andrews girls game was postponed until later this month.
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TW ANDREWS 66, HIGH POINT CENTRAL 63
HPC 21 13 13 16 – 63
TWA 10 22 14 20 – 66
HIGH POINT CENTRAL
Tre Hill 18, Keith McDuffie Jr. 12, Kaden Williams 10, Sims 9, Ramazani 6, Robinson 4, Little 3, Allen 1
DJ Jackson 18, Great Shivers 18, AJ Herndon 14, Gunthrop 8, Shearin 5, Morrison 2, Umstead 1