JACKSON — The Miami Trace Panthers popped three-pointers early, and sank free throws late, while Darby Tyree was the constant all throughout.
The visiting Panthers raced out to an early double-digit advantage, answered every Ironmen rally at almost every turn, and converted a perfect 10-of-10 fourth-quarter free throws en route to defeating Jackson 51-45 in a Frontier Athletic Conference boys basketball tilt on Tuesday night.
The Panthers — which won their third consecutive contest — put an end to the Ironmen’s 5-1 start, as Jackson dropped its first league bout after opening at 3-0 and was tied with Chillicothe for the early lead.
Miami Trace is now 3-4 overall — and 3-2 in the FAC.
With the Ironmen coming off two narrow but critical road wins at Hillsboro (58-56 in overtime) and at Washington Court House (53-50) last week, the Panthers picked up a big victory.
“(Jackson coach) Max (Morrow) is doing a really nice job with this group of kids and this is a very difficult environment, especially with the aggressive style they play. That’s a lot to deal with on the road,” said Miami Trace coach Rob Pittser. “But I thought our kids kept their poise and handled that pressure pretty well tonight. We played thorough on offense and kept the score manageable. Our zone (defense) was good to us again and we rebounded the ball pretty well. We closed the game clearing the boards and made free throws at the end.”
Did the Panthers ever make free throws.
Tyree, often exchanging so-called pleasantries with the Ironmen or even the Jackson student section, had the last laugh in the form of a team-high 19 points —including four threes and 5-of-5 foul shots.
Amid a matchup with 10 lead changes, Miami Trace outscored the Ironmen 8-2 over the final minute and 10 seconds to break a 43-43 tie.
The Panthers went ahead 45-43 on an Austin Brown basket off a Cameron Carter assist, then following a pair of missed threes by the Ironmen on one possession, they finished off the final 25 seconds by making six one-and-one free throws — two by Carter and four by Tyree.
In all, Miami Trace misfired on only one of its 15 freebies, as Carter canned 6-of-6, Tyree 5-of-5 and Brown 3-of-4.
For the fourth frame, Tyree and Carter converted 4-of-4, while Brown bagged a pair
just 14 seconds in to make it 37-34 in favor of the Panthers.
“We had the ball in the right kids’ hands making free throws,” said Pittser.
In that final quarter, after Jackson stormed back to claim a 43-39 lead with four-and-a-minutes remaining, the Ironmen only amounted a final field goal by Payton Speakman with three seconds to go.
But while Miami Trace kept making its free throws, the Ironmen could not.
The Red and White went 8-of-14, but missed five in the fourth quarter.
“We just couldn’t get that timely stop there in the fourth quarter under four minutes, and we missed five free throws in the fourth quarter,” said Jackson coach Max Morrow. “And they (Panthers) did not miss a free throw down the stretch it seemed like.”
Jackson also made only five of its 18 (28-perecent) three-point attempts, compared to 7-of-16 for 44-percent for Miami Trace.
The Panthers started hot by firing from long range and making five, including three by Tyree, the second of which was a rare four-point play that put Miami Trace ahead at 13-11.
The Ironmen actually led 11-6 at the 3:18 mark on a Cooper Donaldson putback basket, but the Panthers put up the final dozen points of the quarter, as Tyree buried his third triple from the top of the key to make it 18-11.
In addition to Tyree’s 19, Carter and Brown finished with four field goals apiece —towards 15 and 11 points respectively.
Brett Lewis landed two first-quarter treys, as the Panthers pumped in six of their first eight three-ball attempts.
“I tip my hat to Miami Trace for hitting timely shots, whether it was an open look or a hand in their face,” said Morrow. “I thought we did a good job closing out, but Darby Tyree does a great job of knocking in shots over the top of an extended arm.”
“Successful teams need to have somebody step up and make those big shots. Tonight, we had a bunch of kids do that,” said Pittser.
Miami Trace made it 20-11 only 20 seconds into the second quarter— before Carson Spohn stopped a 6:11 scoring drought for Jackson by hitting the first of his four treys.
“We’ve had these slow starts, but it needs to change,” said Morrow. “We had slow starts at Hillsboro and Washington Court House, and we fought back and got a late lead. We did the same thing again tonight, which is a testament to our guys and our effort.”
Carter drove the lane to make it 25-14, as the Panthers led 28-20 at halftime — before the
Ironmen doubled them up 14-7 in the third, and finally took their first lead in over 17 minutes with 45 seconds left on a Spohn jumper.
Darby’s final three put the Panthers ahead 35-34 at the end of the stanza, as there were three lead changes in the fourth — until Miami Trace took the final lead with 1:10 to play.
Spohn poured in a game-high 20 points on seven total field goals and 2-of-2 free throws, while Speakman posted 15 points on six total field goals and two foul shots.
He also hit a first –period triple.
Caleb Wallis, with a first-half basket and two fourth-quarter free throws, wound up with four, while Donaldson and Traylon Davis —on a deuce and foul shots apiece — each added three.
Donaldson grabbed 10 of the Ironmen’s 26 rebounds, while Speakman made five steals.
Wallis dished out five of the squad’s seven assists, and also collected four takeaways.
The Panthers play host to Circleville on Friday night.
* * *
Miami Trace 18 10 7 16 — 51
Jackson 11 9 14 11 — 45
MIAMI TRACE 51 (3-4, 3-1 FAC)
Cameron Carter 4 6-6 15, Austin Matthews 0 0-0 0, Dakota Bolton 0 0-0 0, Brett Lewis 2 0-0 6, Heath Cockerill 0 0-0 0, Austin Brown 4 3-4 11, Darby Tyree 5 5-5 19; TOTALS 15 14-15 51; Three-point goals: 7 (Darby Tyree 4, Brett Lewis 2, Cameron Carter 1)
JACKSON 45 (5-2, 3-1 FAC)
Kendall Neal 0 0-0 0, Caleb Wallis 1 2-4 4, Payton Speakman 6 2-5 15, Carson Spohn 7 2-2 20, Cooper Donaldson 1 1-2 3, Caden Donaldson 0 0-0 0, Traylon Davis 1 1-1 3, Brice Graham 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 16 8-14 45 Three-point goals: 5 (Carson Spohn 4, Payton Speakman 1)