Third win eludes Washington

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Washington and Ayden-Grifton went down to the wire Tuesday evening, but another mid-game collapse cost the Pam Pack. Trailing 43-39, the Chargers ripped off a 14-0 run to take a 53-43 lead. They ultimately won, 66-61, as the Pam Pack let its third win of the season slip away.

Sharwan Staton opened the period with a 3-pointer and a beautiful reverse layup. The turnovers began to pileup after that. Ayden-Grifton’s press forced mistakes. Kyren McCotter capitalized with back-to-back layups, and James Richardson knocked down a trey for the Chargers.

Down by 10, Jirah Woolard hit a shot from behind the arc to end Washington’s scoring drought with just over a minute left in the third quarter, but the damage was done.

“I was going to call a timeout and I didn’t, which I should have,” Pam Pack coach Steve Flowers admitted.


His team went into the fourth down by eight, but didn’t give up. Forward Thomas Edwards nailed an uncharacteristic, but wide-open triple. Harvey McCullough drove to the basket for back-to-back and-1 layups. He converted on both free throws to keep the game close.

Nazzir Hardy’s layup tied the game with 4:53 left to play.

“We had a couple of opportunities to tie it and turned the ball over. Eventually we did tie it. I think the kids played hard,” Flowers said. “They put up a lot of fight. It’s the little things that hurt us.”

Despite strong work at the free-throw line early on, the Pam Pack finished 10-of-22 from the charity stripe. Making just half of those 12 misses would have been the difference in a win or a loss.

The Chargers led by just one possession, 62-59, after another point-blank basket by McCullough. Even with the Pam Pack only needing one bucket to tie the game, the visitors seemed content to run a four-corner offense to run time off the clock.

“We said to just be patient,” Flowers said. “My thought was eventually they’d just throw it away, which they did, but they were able to run a lot of clock off. We tried to stay patient and hope they would turn it over.”

The aforementioned third-quarter run by Ayden-Grifton gave it its first lead since early on in the second. The home side traded baskets with the Chargers throughout the first half, and was able to maintain the lead for most of it.

Woolard and Malik Bell put the Pam Pack ahead right out of the gate. McCullough and Staton followed up by drilling long-range shots from the same spot in the corner to give Washington a 13-8 lead.

A quick 8-0 spurt by the Chargers gave them their first lead, but the Pam Pack quickly regained it. A 3-pointer by Larry Lee gave Washington a 38-32 lead, which was its largest of the second period.

“We were beating their press,” Flowers said. “They were pressing the whole game, but early on, we were beating it fairly simply. We were getting some easy buckets out of that. That was the key early.”

Washington now sets its sights on the Northside Holiday Tournament next week. Flowers has a few things he’d like to accomplish as the two-day event marks the end of the Pam Pack’s non-conference stretch.

“We’ve got to get better defensively. We have to be stronger rebounding,” Flowers said. “We get a lot of rebounds and then lose the ball. … Same old problem is defending without fouling. We got in foul trouble early, but in the second half we didn’t. We had one guy with four in the first half and another with three. We’ve got to avoid that.”