By Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel
HOULKA – The Falkner Eagles have just two seniors, and boy did they come through in the clutch.
Tuesday, senior guard Deniko Adams came off the bench in the fourth quarter, stole a Houlka pass and scored a go-ahead layup with 10 seconds to play in regulation. Senior post Dustin McCoy took a charge to negate Houlka’s go-ahead bucket on the next possession.
Houlka managed to steal an inbounds pass and send the game to overtime on a last-second layup by Tyreque Reed, but Falkner won the extra period to take the 51-46 upset victory
No. 4 seed Falkner led 33-22 heading into the fourth quarter, before a 18-6 run by No. 1 seed Houlka paved the way for some senior heroics.
“Both of them have worked so hard from last year to this year and really bought into what we’re trying to do,” said second-year Falkner coach Jake Walker. “Dustin takes a beating night in an night out, and he may not be able to give me 15 points, but he works his butt off. Deniko does the same thing.”
Falkner (11-17) advances to its first North quarterfinal since 2011.
“I couldn’t believe they handed us the ball under the goal. That was unreal,” said longtime Houlka coach Jimmy Guy McDonald, who thought Falkner’s zone defense had little do with the poor shooting night. “The kids effort brought us back, but we just had a terrible shooting night. Most of the time Tyreque Reed and Jesse Kelly hits those shots.”
When it counts
Kelly hit four 3-pointer and finished with a team-high 16 points. In overtime, he missed two game-tying attempts as the Wildcats trailed 49-46 with a minute to play. Reed added 10 for Houlka. His lone bucket of the fourth tied the game.
Lewis Moore, who put Houlka (15-16) ahead for the first time since the first quarter on a stickback with under a minute to play, added 10.
Falkner led 20-15 at the break. Sophomore guards Treyvon Jeanes and Richard Green led the Eagles with 19 and 13 points respectively
“They’ve worked so hard. Everybody’s bought in. We have a long way to go, but this is a big step,” added Walker.