Published: 12:00 AM, Wed Feb 01, 2012
Pine Forest boys beat Seventy-First 79-70 in double-overtime
Pine Forest coach David May has long argued that every Mid-South 4-A Conference road win is a bonus.
He might want to put a couple of extra stars by the one his team got Tuesday night at Seventy-First.
Isaac Lyerly ignited a sluggish Pine Forest offense in the second overtime with a big 3-pointer, and then helped his team build a working lead for a 79-70 win over Seventy-First in the Falcons' gym.
The win extended Pine Forest's winning streak to 18 games and left the Trojans 10-0 in conference play and 21-1 overall.
Most important, it wrapped up the Mid-South's No. 1 berth in the state 4-A playoffs for Pine Forest. The Trojans have a two-game lead in the conference over Seventy-First with two games to play, and they've already beaten the Falcons three times. That means should Seventy-First pull even with Pine Forest in the weeks remaining, Pine Forest would still get the top berth in the state playoffs.
The loss dropped the Falcons to 14-6 overall and 7-2 in the league.
Pine Forest appeared ready to clinch the win early in the fourth quarter when it built a nine-point lead, 46-37.
But Seventy-First fought back, taking advantage of poor free-throw shooting by the Trojans. Quincy Swait's 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation pulled Seventy-First even at 57 and forced the overtime.
Seventy-First had the ball with the score tied and 16 seconds left in the first overtime but couldn't get a shot off as time expired.
Lyerly took charge in the second overtime to put Pine Forest in the lead.
He hit a 3-pointer and then added a pair of short baskets in just over a minute to push the Trojans to a 68-63 lead.
"That was a big three,'' Lyerly said. "I came down and knocked it down. I think that was the turning point in the game.''
Pine Forest stretched it to 78-65 at one point.
"He's a great penetrator,'' May said of Lyerly. "He made a couple of moves in there that were special. That gave us some momentum, a heck of a player making some big time plays.''
Lyerly finished with 15 points. Alex Bradley led the Trojans with 27. Naquon Smith had 14 and E.J. Williams 11.
Smith pulled down 15 rebounds for the Trojans while Williams had 10.
Seventy-First was hurt in overtime by the loss of its big men as 6-foot-4 Devonte Thomas and 6-6 Chris Bennett picked up their fifth fouls and had to leave the game.
"That really helped us out,'' May said. "Our guys made some great plays down the stretch."
May said having the top playoff berth clinched won't do anything to change the way he plans to handle his team in the closing weeks of the regular season.
"By no means will we stop trying to win games, but it feels good to do it,'' he said of clinching early. "We're going to come out, and just like the teams we play are going to give us everything they have, we'll do the same thing.
"I'm proud of our guys and proud of the effort. It's paying off.''
Seventy-First coach David Simmons said losing his big men hurt his team's offense at the end of the game. "We put up a championship effort,'' he said. "We were one rebound and a couple of turnovers away from winning.''
Simmons' team will now focus on securing second place as it wraps up the regular season. "I think the kids showed a lot of character tonight,'' he said. "I think we'll rebound.''
Marcus Williams led Seventy-First with 20 points. Thomas scored 16 and Sidney Knox had 10.
PINE FOREST - McEachern 3, Alex Bradley 27, Corbett, Hall 6, Ray 3, E.J. Williams 11, Isaac Lyerly 15, Naquon Smith 14.
SEVENTY-FIRST - Sidney Knox 10, Swait 8, Francis, Vince, Marcus Williams 20, Watson 5, Page 2, Anderson 2, Devonte Thomas 16, Bennett 7.
Fouled out: SF - Swait, Thomas, Bennett
3-point goals: PF - McEachern, Bradley 3, Ray, Lyerly 2. SF - Knox 2, Swait 2, Williams 3, Watson.
Records: Pine Forest 21-1, 10-0; Seventy-First 14-6, 7-2.