By Zach Womble for Main Street Media
WHITE HOUSE – Fans in attendance Tuesday night for White House and Portland expected to be treated to free basketball as the two teams looked destined for overtime tied at 51.
However, Duncan Smallwood had other plans.
Getting the inbounds pass from teammate Dawson Kennedy, Smallwood launched with just over two seconds remaining from the left corner, sinking the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired for the 54-51 victory.
“We did everything we could to give that game away in the second half but Dawson hits that big shot to get us the win. We won the first half, they won the second half and we won the last three seconds,” Portland head coach Darryl Travis said following the win.
The victory pushes Portland to 3-1 to open the season and while spirits were high in the locker room for Portland, Travis knows his team must clean up the little things in order to achieve their long-term goals.
“We lost our composure defensively in the second half,” he said. “We stopped communicating and we gave away too many open looks down the stretch. Quad Lucas is a load to stop. If he turns on you look out.”
Down 16 at the break, White House slowly but surely cut in the their deficit, cutting the Portland lead to as little as four to end the third frame, 37-33.
Trailing 50-46, White House’s Nathan Bowman drained a 3-pointer just after Smallwood missed his first free throw on a 1-and-1, cutting the deficit to one with only 28 seconds remaining.
After picking up 1-of-2 free throws, Portland led by two as Quad Lucas went to the free throw line with just under three seconds remaining to try and tie the contest.
Lucas sank both from the line, but in the end left too much time on the clock for the Panthers.
“We got into a big hole early and we couldn’t dig out of it,” White House head coach Caleb Cook said. “I can live with the second half effort. We got into a little bit of a rhythm in the third quarter and competed our tails off; the kid just made a great catch and shot.”
Three Panthers scored in double figures Tuesday night as Smallwood paced his team with 19 points.
White House big man Quad Lucas led his team with 16 points.
The win improves Portland to 3-1 on the season and drops White House to 1-2. The Panthers are back in action at home on Dec. 1 against Hendersonville. The Blue Devils will travel to Cross Plains to take on East Robertson also on Dec. 1.
Portland (54): Duncan Smallwood 19, Dawson Kennedy 10, Caeson Utley 10, Hunter Hicks 5, Montaze Bradley 5.
White House (51): Quad Lucas 16, Nathan Bowman 12, Amarion Lucas 11, Wesley Deakins 5, Caleb Dorris 4, Jimmy Allen 3.