Portland’s Owen Russell brings the ball up court against Sexton’s pressure. Russell finished the night with 11 points as Portland fell to the Big Reds 56-54.
Portland's Brody Smith went to the free-throw line with 1.5 seconds left on the clock and the Raider's trailing 56-54. Everett scored a lay-up just seconds before and on the ensuing play Smith was fouled while attempting a shot under the Portland basket. Smith was in a position to send the game to overtime, but needed to make both shots from the free-throw line. When his first shot bounced off the rim, Raider Coach Jason Goerge called a time-out. It appeared the strategy was for Smith to purposefully miss the second shot in hopes that it would bounce off the rim into the hands of a Raider who would tip it in for a basket and send the game into overtime. Following the time-out, Smith's second free throw did bounce off the rim.....right into the hands of an Everett player who held on as time expired.
The game had see-sawed back and forth all night. Sexton led at the half, 23-19, after holding Portland's Aryan Virk scoreless in the first two quarters. It turned out to be the Big Reds largest lead of the night. Virk came alive in the second-half scoring all of his 24 points after the break. Sexton took a one point,38-37, lead into the fourth quarter, but the Raiders went on a seven point run to push their lead to 44-38. Sexton then came roaring back and outscored Portland 10-4 to tie the game at 48-48. With less than a minute to go the score remained tied at 54-54. A Sexton lay-up and the missed free-throws by Smith ended the game with the final score 56-54. Portland is now 1-2 on the season.
Sexton Coach Dale Beard, who took over as Sexton Head Coach less than two-months ago, was pleased with his teams performance and his first win as coach. The Big Reds are now 1-4 on the season. "I'm happy for the night. We need to build on this. We played with an improved defense and had some big rebounds tonight. Portland did a great job containing Emanuel Jones and so we struggled a bit, but our offense but came through".
Portland Coach, Jason Goerge, was frustrated with the Raider's nineteen turnovers and being out-rebounded by Sexton. "We did a good job containing Jones, but our poor rebounding killed us tonight". The Raiders have a Christmas break and return to action on Tuesday, January 7th at home against St. John's.