GREENVILLE – It was a tale of two halves on the afternoon of Jan. 19 at the Carpenter Fieldhouse on the campus of Tower Hill School. The Archmere’s boys basketball team could do little wrong through two and a half quarters, but after watching a big lead evaporate, the Auks needed a bucket in the final seconds to defeat the Hillers, 47-46.
The winning bucket came from Ty Brinker, who scored on a reverse layup after taking a pass from Darren DiRenzo with 7.5 seconds to go. A last-chance three-point attempt from the Hillers hit the rim, and the Auks breathed a sigh of relief.
But a lot went into getting to that point.
The Auks had a 20-point halftime lead, and the advantage was 33-12 with 2:30 left in the third quarter. But the Hillers began chipping away. They made five straight free throws, and freshman Alexander McClendon’s buzzer-beating three-point shot at the close of the third made it 35-20 Auks. The Hillers were just getting warmed up, while the Auks struggled with turnovers and poor shooting, both from the field and at the free-throw line.
Ricky Deadwyler opened the fourth with a runner. A steal turned into a three-point shot for McClendon, cutting the Auks’ lead to 10 with 6:35 to go. Tower forced two more turnovers that led to Archmere fouls, and the four made free throws made the score 35-39. The Hillers regained possession, and Deadwyler drained a three, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
Tim Rogers of Archmere made one of two free-throw attempts about halfway through the quarter to end Tower Hill’s run at 15. After two more Archmere misses from the line, Kyle Motley got behind the defense for a layup, and on the next time down the court, Donovan Mack capped the Hillers’ comeback with a three-pointer that put them ahead, 37-36, with 3:18 to go.
The lead changed hands a few times before the Hillers went ahead, 44-40, on a triple from Mack. Down two, the Auks forced a turnover and regained the lead on a three by Jamil Comeger with about 50 seconds remaining. Deadwyler answered with a mid-range jumper at the 28-second mark, setting the stage for the final sequence.
After a timeout, Rogers inbounded the ball to Comeger with 19.5 to go. DiRenzo worked his way to the top of the key, took the pass and two dribbles toward the foul line and whipped the ball to a cutting Brinker, who calmly completed the Auks’ comeback.
DiRenzo led the Auks with 15 points, while Comeger had 12. Archmere (9-2), winners of four straight, will return to action on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. at home against Conrad.
For the Hillers, Deadwyler was the only player in double figures, putting up 13. McClendon had nine. The Hillers fell to 5-4 and will try to end a two-game losing skid on Tuesday at St. Andrew’s. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m.