Shuckers Maintain Season-Long Hold on Division Lead
By Dave Topp
Danny Thompson connected on a pair of late free throws, Rocky Coleman hit for a season-high 35 points and the Bay Area Shuckers (6-3) overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat the Palmieri Jeans Destroyers 122-121 in overtime on Saturday.
With 9.9 seconds remaining in overtime and the Shuckers trailing by one, Thompson stepped to the line with a chance to put his team ahead.
“Just hit it,” Thomspon said was the thought running through his mind prior to the free throws.
Thompson sank both free throws, Fahreed Cheatham missed his rebuttal at the other end for the visitors and the Shuckers walked away with their second straight win.
The Destroyers (9-2) entered the game with just one loss to their credit, while leading the American Professional Basketball League’s Gateway Division.
Bay Area found itself trailing by 29-23 after one quarter of play.
Things got even worse for the Shuckers, who found themselves down 14 in the second quarter. But a resilient effort from the hosts chipped the Destroyer lead back down to five by halftime, 56-51.
“At that point, just maintain focus and keep your head in the game,” said Thompson, who blocked nine Destroyer shots. “Everything will be alright when the second half rolls around.”
Third quarter action saw Coleman hit for 15 of his 35 points, as the Shuckers pulled back to a score of 81-78 at the end of the three quarters. Coleman connected on a team-leading three three-pointers on the night.
“Terry Hosley did a good job of drawing the defense and was able to find me. I was able to knock down open shots,” Coleman said.
Thompson and Hosley sparked the Shuckers in the fourth quarter, combining for 24 of the teams 31 fourth-quarter points. Hosley tallied 15 of his 27, while Thompson added nine points as Bay Area found itself level with the Destroyers at 109 at the end of regulation.
“Terry is one of the best point guards I’ve seen in awhile. [He’s] one of the best point guards I’ve played [with] in a long time,” Thompson said of his running mate. “It’s good to have a point-guard-big-man chemistry on the floor.”
Hosley finished a game-high six assists.
Just inside of twenty seconds to play in overtime, Cheatham fed Sherman Brittingham, who finished 27 points for the Destroyers, for a layup and a 121-120 lead.
Out of a Shuckers timeout, Thompson caught the ball in the post on the right block, drew the foul and went to the line with a chance to take back the lead.
“That was my first big-time clutch moment in years,” Thompson said about his two converted free throws.
Cheatham, whose 38 points led all scorers, missed a shot at the buzzer and the Shuckers pulled out the 122-121 victory.
“The crowd was great [tonight],” Shuckers coach Bob Topp said. “We have clearly the best fans in the league.”
Bay Area returns to action Feb. 2, at 7 p.m., when they host the Metro All-Stars. The Shuckers dropped their first encounter with Metro on Dec. 2, 120-111, despite Hosley’s franchise record 56 points.
For all your Shuckers news please visit www.bayareashuckers.com. You can also follow the Shuckers on Twitter @BayAreaShuckers. Follow Dave Topp on Twitter @Topper.