By Timothy Kays
BRYAN: February 26, 2014 – The Fayette Eagles and the North Central Eagles squared off in the D-IV Sectional semifinals in Bryan on February 26. These BBC teams feature good inside-outside threats, and pack the speed and ball handling ability to make them both potent on the defensive end. It was that defense that played a huge role in the contest as a trey from Fayette’s Chandler Sanford with three tenths of a second remaining sent the game into overtime, and another trey from North Central’s Clayton Ferguson with two tenths of a second left in the second overtime ended the game with North Central upending Fayette by a 34-31 score.
A defensive struggle from the start, North Central carried leads after each of the first three periods over Fayette, a team that had beaten North Central twice during the regular season. With the score 31-28 and Fayette struggling from the field as they had all night against the North Central defense, Sanford buried his only three on the night with 3 tenths of a second left to send the game into overtime.
Neither team was able to put up points in the first overtime, and as the seconds ticked down, the second overtime appeared to be doomed to collect another set of zeroes. With the score still tied at 31-31 and time winding down to zero though, North Central senior Clayton Ferguson had the ball on the perimeter, trying in vain to escape the defense of Sanford. Finally, with 2 tenths of a second remaining and Sanford still in his grille, he took a desperation shot from the mid right beyond the arch that went off glass and in as the buzzer sounded. His trey put a dagger into the hearts of the #2 seeded and defending Sectional champion Fayette squad.
“I still haven’t hit reality yet,” said a smiling Ferguson in the locker room after the game. “I saw that the shot was far right, and I just called bank…I don’t know. Unbelievable. It’s huge; I just feel so good right now.” When asked about the defense of Sanford, he was quick to reply that he could not get a good look for the final shot. “No, not really. He was right up in me, and hands up. I couldn’t even get open half the time, he was so tight to me.” Chase Legacy led North Central with 10 points, while Ferguson, Branden Turner and Josh Sawyer each finished with 8 points.
With the defeat the stellar careers of Fayette seniors Sanford, Tyler Cox, and Justin and Marcus Stoltzfus comes to a close.
Cox led Fayette with 10 points, while Sanford finished with 9. Tristen Bates, Wade Burkholder and Koby Biddix each had 3 points, Skylar Lantz had 2, and Jerad Seiler was held to one point.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
North Central 7 12 6 6 0 3 – 34
Fayette 5 8 10 8 0 0 – 31
Timothy Kays can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org