TRI-COUNTY LEAGUE Peters' goal nets United win over Sebring
His 3-pointer with 20 seconds left subdued the Trojans and dropped them into a tie for the league lead.
By TODD BELL
HANOVERTON -- The United High boys basketball team turned the table on Sebring, and as a result the Tri-County League race has heated up with just three games remaining.
Trailing by eight points with 1 minute, 19 seconds remaining in the game, United stormed back and stole one from the TCL leader 51-50 on Devan Peters' 3-pointer from the left wing with seconds left.
Peters scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the final quarter, including three 3-pointers.
Sebring (13-2, 9-2) fell into a tie for first place with Lisbon, and the Trojans play there Friday. United (11-5, 8-3) is just a game back.
"Down the stretch, our work on the offensive boards made the difference in the game," United coach Herman Miller said. "I thought that's what we lacked throughout the game, but in the last minute and a half, we found it in ourselves to come out and get on the boards where we needed to be."
Fell into hole: Seven first-half turnovers and only 30-percent shooting from the field in the half put the Golden Eagles in a hole, trailing 23-19.
In the third quarter, it seemed United had found its rhythm, starting the period on a 6-0 run and holding Sebring scoreless through the first 4:30 to grab a two-point advantage. But before the period was over, Sebring had once again taken the lead and was up 31-29 after three.
The 11th-ranked team in Division IV appeared to have had enough as it built on its momentum to go on a 12-2 run, highlighted by 3-point baskets by Adam Jurica and David Scarpitti, who led Sebring with 14 points, to push the lead to its largest, 39-31.
Good fourth: In spite of United's efforts to rally, Sebring was playing a flawless fourth quarter. Sebring hadn't turned the ball over in the period; they hit 5-of-6 field-goals and knocked down 6-of-7 free throws, including two by Greg Vankirk to make the score 48-40 with just over a minute remaining.
With just 38 seconds left, Jordan Phillips scored for United to make it 49-45. On the ensuing inbound, Grant Cope came up with a steal under the United basket. He scored, was fouled and made it a three-point play with the free throw to pull the Golden Eagles to within one point.
After a quick foul, Josh Dean's second free throw was errant. United moved the ball quickly down the floor, and Peters drained his 3-pointer from the left wing to net United's win.
"We needed a two to tie, and for Devan to step up and take that shot takes a lot of guts on a kid's part," said Miller.
Down the stretch: A Sebring turnover followed and a foul sent United to the line for a one-and-one with eight seconds left. Phillips missed the front end, but a huge rebound by Cope followed, and a foul with 6.4 left sent him to the line.
Again, the front end of the bonus was missed, but after the Sebring rebound, Scarpitti lost the ball off his foot near mid-court, with the Trojans never getting a shot off, and the upset was complete.
"Forty-seven seconds to go and you have the lead and you make five mistakes," Sebring coach Brian Clark said. "It's almost impossible to win games."