Charlotte Sr. Stephen Dotts scored almost all of Charlotte’s first quarter points, by scoring 13 of his game high 20 points, in the first four minutes of the game. It seemed like everything he threw at the basket went in, including a three-point shot that hit the rim, bounced up in the air, then dropped through the net. Charlotte led at the end of a fast paced first quarter 16-12.
The Raider’s defense got stingy in the second quarter holding Dotts to just one basket and Charlotte to only seven points and the Raiders led at halftime 24-23. The Third quarter saw Oriole Guard Kyle Sandusky, who was scoreless in the first half, connect for nine of Charlotte’s thirteen points while the Orioles held the Raiders to seven. The score at the end of the third quarter was Charlotte 36 Portland 31.
Charlotte Coach Chris Hutton said after the game, “Every time we play each other it’s a battle!” That sentiment pretty much described the fourth quarter as Charlotte built an 8-point lead with three minutes left in the game. But three minutes can be an eternity in basketball and Portland came charging back with two free throws and a three-point shot by Aryan Virk, followed by a three-point basket by Owen Russell with 1 minute to go that tied the score at 46-46.
Then a three-point shot from deep in the corner by Stephen Dotts put Charlotte up 49-46 with less than a minute to play. Both teams exchanged baskets. Portland fouled Charlotte’s Sandusky and he responded by connecting on two free throws. But, it wasn’t over quite yet.
With sixteen seconds left in game, Portland’s Aryan Virk connected on a three-point shot to cut Charlotte’s lead to 53-51. The Raiders immediately fouled Sandusky who made the front-end of a one and one free throw attempt, making the score 54-51. Portland rebounded the missed second free throw with three seconds left and Owen Russell’s full court shot at the buzzer fell short. Final score Charlotte 54 Portland 51.
Charlotte Coach Hutton said in a post-game interview with the Beacon, “I am really proud of my guys and how they played down the stretch. We were able to grind out a few more baskets and come away with the win. We played tonight without our starting point guard, Justin Bates, but we managed to grind it out at the end”. Charlotte was led in scoring by Stephen Dotts with 20 and Kyle Sandusky with 18. The Orioles are now 3-7 on the year.
Portland Coach Dave Pettit said after the game, “It’s disappointing to lose after we came back and tied it up in the 4th. But then they got that 3-point basket in the end”. Coach Pettit credited Blake Myers and Jordan Peterson for their extra effort in the game tonight. “Jordan played within himself”, Pettit commented. Portland was led in scoring by Aryan Virk with 19 points and Own Russell with 16. The Raiders fell to 2-9 on the year and next play at league leading Ionia (9-2) on Friday January 25th at 6:00 PM.