Having 12 days pass between games is never ideal in basketball.
Coaches worry about their players’ physical shape and timing on the court. Ellet fourth-year coach Mark Fisher had those worries Friday night when his team met visiting Firestone in a City Series game.
The recent storm that featured extreme cold temperatures and snow closed both schools for three days earlier in the week. It affected both teams’ practice schedules, but Ellet emerged with a 42-41 victory after a steal and layup by senior Jake Fisher with 14 seconds to go.
Jake Fisher, the coach’s son, teamed with junior Julian Furman to create the winning basket.
“I was just trying to make a play,” Jake Fisher said. “We had a double-team going. I knew he was going to come back my way and I was ready for it. I was trying not to foul him and get a steal, and then after I got the steal my heart was pounding because I had to make sure I made the layup. I heard the crowd roaring and I was thinking to myself ‘don’t miss.’ ”
Firestone called a timeout with 12.9 seconds left and then missed a jumper. Junior Breaon Brady grabbed the rebound and Fisher was fouled with 0.3 to go. Fisher missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw and the clock expired.
“We wanted this win,” Mark Fisher said. “That is what matters most. We get over a hump as a program. We hadn’t beaten Firestone in I don’t know how many years. I know I haven’t beaten them. I think it has been at least six years. This is big for our program and big for our guys.”
“We were off in terms of games since Dec. 28 and then with that weather we couldn’t practice Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday because Akron Public Schools doesn’t let you in the building when there is no school. We had one practice to get ready for them [Thursday] night instead of four. It was the same for them. You just have to come out here and play with a lot of heart. Both teams dug down.”
Senior Dionte Williams led Ellet (9-1, 2-1) with 11 points, four rebounds and three steals. Brady added 10 points and seven rebounds.
“Normally, Ellet is not known for being good,” Williams said. “Firestone is normally better than us, but today we wanted it more.”
Senior Evan Kennerly paced Firestone (5-5, 3-1) with 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Senior JaeQuan Jones finished with 10 points and six steals. Sophomore Raybon Lewis had seven points and 13 rebounds.
The Falcons, who had six days between games, led 13-10 after one quarter and 26-19 at halftime. The Orangemen rallied to tie the score at 36-36 after three quarters.
“It was ugly,” Firestone third-year coach Dave Milo said. “You can’t take time off like that. You have got to be able to practice and we had one day of practice, but that is not an excuse. It was the same thing for both teams. I think both teams hustled their butts off. … Give Ellet credit. They played very well.”
Jake Fisher and senior Jake Williams both scored eight points. Fisher also had six rebounds and five assists. Williams had seven rebounds.