Santa Claus makes early stop at LMS Christmas Tournament

Thursday, December 20, 2007
LMS hero Aaron Thomason scored four points in the final seconds to secure the dramatic come from behind victory over Cameron.

Old St. Nick made an early stop and dropped presents off for the LMS squads at the 2nd Annual Lewisburg Middle Basketball Tournament Saturday as both the boy's team and the girl's team came away with dramatic victories over Cameron Middle School.

The two-day tournament featured eight different teams from as far away as Nashville to North Alabama and the game card had fourteen total contests, but the most dramatic two games were the last two games played by the LMS squads.

For the girl's, the present was their first victory of the season as Coach Shonda Sparrow and the young Tigerettes hung in and outlasted Cameron Middle school 34-32 in a game that featured a young point guard, Austyn Whaley come of age as the seventh grader displayed great ball handling and team leadership down the stretch to pull out the victory.

In the post, eighth grader Keyerra Allen fought and clawed her way in the paint to score 13 points, most of them at critical moments in the contest.

The first quarter was very low scoring as both squads had trouble figuring out the other team's plan and turned the ball over many times. LMS led 7-3 after the first six minutes.

The pace began to pick up in the second quarter and the action went from end to end as the point differential never went beyond three points for either side and the score was 14-12 in favor of LMS at the half.

The game was even tighter in the third quarter as the squads battled for every point scored as it ended dead even at twenty-two on a long three pointer by Cameron's Candace Esmond.

Keondra Powell got the Tigerettes off to a great start in the fourth period as scored down low to put the hosts up 24-22. Esmond responded with another three-pointer to make it 25-24 in favor of the Nashville school and Powell answered with another bucket to see-saw the lead back to LMS.

After a Cameron miss, Mary Medley grabbed a rebound and found a streaking Whaley, who went in for an easy lay-up to make it 28-25.

A Cameron free throw made it 28-26 and after a two minute scoring drought by both squads, Cameron's Ieasha Crawley hit a free throw to cut the lead to just one at 28-27. Allen scored two possessions later for the Tigerettes to make the score 30-27.

Cameron came up the floor and missed and Allen responded with another bucket to make it 32-27 with just over two minutes to play. Whaley made a huge bucket to make it 34-27 and force a Cameron timeout.

These are the situations that have haunted LMS so far this season and it almost did again as Cameron scored five straight points to cut the lead to 34-32 with just seconds left.

The Tigerettes would have none of it as Whaley took control of the ball in the final few seconds and dodged the Cameron defenders to secure the victory for LMS.

"It felt really good to help the team", a jubilant Whaley said in the post game interview. "If we can win this game, then we can win a lot more."

Allen was also ecstatic after the win and said, "It is an early Christmas present for the team and for Coach Sparrow."

An out of breath Sparrow gleamed for her team and said," A win always feels good, but this one is real exciting. These girls played their hearts out today and we are on the right track now. There is nowhere to go but up."

Allen had 13 points in the game, Whaley scored 9, Powell had 8, Medley scored 2, and Megan Sanders also had 2. LMS had lost earlier in the day, 41-17 to the University School of Nashville.

Tigers steal dramatic come from behind win

Once you think you have seen it all, you see the unbelievable happen and that is what happened in the game with the LMS boys versus Cameron.

The Cameron squad seemingly hand the game in control, but lost their poise and lost the game as LMS came from seven points down in the final 1:19 to win one of the most dramatic games ever played on the Lewisburg hard-courts.

The Tigers played a solid first quarter as they led 13-8 after the first six minutes behind the inside outside game that featured Cody Vernon and Brandon Bush in the low post and the hot hand of LaCord Crawford from the outside.

Cameron would fight back in the second period to take a 16-15 midway through the stanza on a bucket by Bobby Huey. Back and forth it went for the remainder of a quarter the ended tied at 19 after one half.

Cameron took charge of the contest in the third period as they outscored Lewisburg 18-11 to take a commanding 37-30 lead into the final period.

Brock Spencer began the fourth quarter fireworks with a long three-bomb on LMS's first possession to cut the Cameron lead to four points at 37-33.

After a bucket by Cameron, Spencer nailed another three to make it 39-36, but Cameron would go on a 6-0 run to build the lead up to nine at 45-36. Kevin Peterson made it 45-38 with a jumper in the lane with 1:30 left to force a Cameron timeout.

After the timeout, Aaron Thomason stole the ball, but missed the lay-up.

Another turnover gave the Tigers the ball and Head Coach David Lovell called a timeout.

What would happen next will go down in basketball lore in Lewisburg forever.

Peterson drove the lane and made a jumper with 1:03 left to cut the score to 45-40 and then Cameron turned the ball over and they called a timeout. In the huddle, the Cameron players began to argue and two of them had to be restrained from fighting by the coaches.

Lovell would say later that it was hard to concentrate on the game with the commotion, but he told his players, "I have seen it happen before and it can happen right now if we just believe."

Many of the LMS fans wore a tee-shirt that said, "New Year, New Team, Let's make it Happen" and that is exactly what happened as LMS came out of the timeout and took a another Cameron turnover down court where Peterson nailed a resounding three-pointer to cut the score to 45-43 with 55.0 left.

The fans were going nuts as Cameron called another timeout. Cameron got the ball inbounds and passed up the right sideline where Thomason was waiting to steal the ball and he raced in for a lay-up the spun around the rim and in for the tie game at 45 with 40.0 seconds left.

The unbelievable got even more eerier as Cameron threw the inbounds pass away and LMS scrambled to recover the ball and Thomason raised up out of a pile and floated a shot in the net with just twenty seconds left to give the Tigers a 47-45 lead and the crowd went totally ballistic.

Cameron turned it over once again and LMS came up with the ball. Cameron committed an intentional foul and Peterson hit one of two for a 48-45 lead.

LMS turned over the free ball on the inbounds and Cameron launched a last second desperation shot that missed the mark and the entire Gymnasium went nuts.

Thomason said in the post-game interview, "That was unbelievable! I was thinking about stealing that ball and when I put up the lay-up I thought it was going to miss like the other one. To come back from seven points down with just over a minute to go is unbelievable."

Lovell said, "It shows that this group of guys has heart. This is something they will be able to carry with them forever."

Peterson and Vernon had 11 apiece in the game and Spencer and Thomason each scored 9.