Ashley outlasts West Brunswick 89-79 in 3 OTs

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Video of Gray Cheers’ 3-pointer that tied the 2nd OT

By Michael Paul, Sports Editor

 Ashley High School beat West Brunswick 89-79 in three overtimes in a non-conference boys’ basketball game Dec. 18 at West.


West had chances to win the game on final shots in regulation (57-57) and in the first overtime (66-66). West sophomore Gray Cheers forced a third overtime when he hit a 3-pointer that tied score 75-75.

“When he let it fly,” West coach Eric Davis said, “you could tell it was going in.”

But in the third overtime, the Screaming Eagles forced four turnovers in a 10-0 run that gave them an 85-77 lead en route to the 89-79 victory.

For Ashley, 6-foot-7 center T.J. Williams, who has committed to Chattanooga, scored 22 points. In the 10-0 run in the third overtime, he had three dunks. Sophomore Tyre Gathright scored 26 points.

For the Trojans, Cheers finished with four 3-pointers and 28 points. Senior Markel Jones scored 16 points.

West (2-4) made 10 of 18 free throws; Ashley, 24 of 41.

Davis said a combination of things led to Ashley finally prevailing.

“We missed some free throws down the stretch in regulation, we turned the ball over and gave up some second and third opportunities,” he said.

West had the ball in the final 9.9 seconds of regulation but missed the game-winning shot.

In the first overtime, a layup by Hankins tied the score 66-66. Ashley made a turnover and West got possession with 28 seconds left, but it again failed to hit the game-winning shot.

In the second overtime, Gathright hit two free throws with 11.3 seconds left as Ashley took a 75-72 lead. The ball was inbounded to Jones, and he dribbled across midcourt before handing off the ball to Cheers at the right wing. Cheers dribbled to his left toward the top of the arc, stopped a few feet outside the arc and banked in a 3-pointer that forced the third overtime to the delirious delight of West’s cheering fans.

Cheers and Gathright are teammates on a travel basketball team, so Ashley coach Brian McSwain knew about Cheers’ abilities.

“I want a Gray Cheers jersey,” McSwain said. “That kid is unbelievable. They had so much momentum off that shot—which was ridiculous. He is so good.”

McSwain admitted he was upset with his team for allowing the game to go into the third overtime.

“I told them to stop messing around,” McSwain said. “I had to remind our guys to have a little bit of a swagger.”

In the third overtime, West’s turnovers and Williams’ dunks enabled the Screaming Eagles’ to clinch the victory.

“That’s the hardest-playing team we played all year,” McSwain said.

West coach Eric Davis said this was the first time he had been in a triple-overtime game. It came two days before West was to open its conference season in a game at Whiteville.

“I was proud of our guys,” he said. “You can’t fault any of them for their effort. That’s the best we played all year.”

Other West scorers: Phil Gause 6, Zaire Hankins 7, O.J. Hill 5, Antonio Clarida 6, Quentin Ash 3, Jawon McNeil 8.

Ashley had beaten West 67-53 Dec. 6 at Ashley, but in this game the Trojans took control from the start. The Trojans led 20-15 after the first quarter and Ash had a dunk in the second quarter as maintained a five-point lead, 33-28. The Trojans led 47-39 after three quarters but Ashley outscored West 18-10 in the final quarter to force overtime.


West boys’ JV

John Jordan made a layup with 2.3 seconds left as the West Brunswick junior varsity boys’ basketball team beat Ashley 26-24 on Dec. 18. Jordan finished with six points and Tyler Stanley seven. West trailed 10-4 at halftime but outscored Ashley 14-4 in the third quarter for an 18-14 lead. Sherm Fulwood scored five of West’s points in the quarter. In the fourth quarter, Jordan blocked a shot and that led to a layup by Stanley and a 22-16 lead.


West girls’ varsity

The West Brunswick girls’ varsity basketball team lost 69-26 to Ashley in a non-conference game Dec. 18. The victory completed a season sweep by the Screaming Eagles. Both teams will be in the same conference next year.

West’s top scorers were Leilani Emile with six points and Allison Brown with five.

West trailed 18-5 after the first quarter and 32-12 at halftime. Ashley led 42-12 with 6:34 left in the third quarter and 50-17 with 2:12 left in the quarter. The lead was 65-25 with 2:27 left in the game. West missed 11 of 15 free throws.


West girls’ JV

The West Brunswick junior varsity girls’ basketball team lost 42-21 to Ashley on Dec. 18. For the Trojans, Yasmine Daniels scored 13 points and Morgann Tew six.