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Jerome JonesIvan Harris
Senior Jerome Jones dribbles down the court against Averett junior Austin DeLucia during the last home game.

In a classic Saturday afternoon showdown, the Runnin’ Royals lost a tense, down-to-the-wire shootout against a talented Averett squad, 88-85.

Yoder Arena was packed full of spectators, and the crowd got their money’s worth in a blow-for-blow contest between two deadlocked teams. It was the visitors, however, that found themselves on top after a wild fourth quarter.

The Runnin’ Royals found themselves deep in a hole early in the beginning of the game, down 18-9 with 13 minutes left in the first half. After a few adjustments, however, EMU roared back into the game, tying up the contest at 34-34. A large part of the comeback was strong play off the bench from first-year forward DJ Hill. Assistant coach Melvin Felix spoke about Hill’s performance off the bench after the game.

“As a freshman, he’s one of those guys that the more he plays, the better he’ll get,” Felix said. “I think he’s getting more comfortable in what we do and how he can score in our offense.”

At halftime, the Runnin’ Royals were up 43-42, and had momentum on their side. They continued their dominance in the second half, and seemed to be in control of the game, but the Cougars had other ideas. Averett, led by senior James Contrares, worked their way back into the game to tie it up 81-81 with three minutes left.

EMU was poised down to the last minute. Junior Sammy Thomas gave the Royals a great push, where he muscled in a layup to tie the game at 83. Then, after a big block on the other end by Isaiah-Harris Winn, the Royals got the ball down low to Thomas again on the next play, who converted another two-footer to give the Royals the lead.

The Cougars responded on the next play with a sweet spin-move lay in by Contrares to tie the game at 85 with a minute left. With forty-eight seconds left on the clock, EMU was unable to make a corner three, and Contrares made them pay on the other end with another smooth move to the hoop, giving the Cougars a two-point lead. The Royals got a contested three in the corner with just seconds left, but the shot didn’t fall, and the Cougars grabbed the rebound, marking the end of a close contest.

Contrares was the difference-maker in the game, as the Averett senior led the game with 24 points. For the Royals, Rashawn Latimer and DJ Hill each had high-scoring games, with 20 and 16 points, respectively. Sammy Thomas and Christian Hansen also had big performances, as they each gave strong minutes in their roles.

Although it was a tough loss for EMU, the coaching staff was optimistic for the upcoming games. “I though today we did a really good job of running our offense…if we do that consistently, we can really win games,” Felix noted. “We just have to continue to battle and grind every day, and I think the tide will turn.”

The Royals have the Don Glick Classic coming up this weekend, where they’ll travel to Bridgewater to match up against Apprentice School and Keystone In a classic Saturday afternoon showdown, the Runnin’ Royals lost a tense, down-to-the-wire shootout against a talented Averett squad, 88-85.

Yoder Arena was packed full of spectators, and the crowd got their money’s worth in a blow-for-blow contest between two deadlocked teams. It was the visitors, however, that found themselves on top after a wild fourth quarter.

The Runnin’ Royals found themselves deep in a hole early in the beginning of the game, down 18-9 with 13 minutes left in the first half. After a few adjustments, however, EMU roared back into the game, tying up the contest at 34-34. A large part of the comeback was strong play off the bench from first-year forward DJ Hill. Assistant coach Melvin Felix spoke about Hill’s performance off the bench after the game.

“As a freshman, he is one of those guys that the more he plays, the better he will get,” Felix said. “I think he’s getting more comfortable in what we do and how he can score in our offense.”

At halftime, the Runnin’ Royals were up 43-42, and had momentum on their side. They continued their dominance in the second half, and seemed to be in control of the game, but the Cougars had other ideas. Averett, led by senior James Contrares, worked their way back into the game to tie it up 81-81 with three minutes left.

EMU was poised down to the last minute. Junior Sammy Thomas gave the Royals a great push, where he muscled in a layup to tie the game at 83. Then, after a big block on the other end by senior Isaiah Harris-Winn, the Royals got the ball down low to Thomas again on the next play, who converted another two-footer to give the Royals the lead.

The Cougars responded on the next play with a spin-move lay in by Contrares to tie the game at 85 with a minute left. With forty-eight seconds left on the clock, EMU was unable to make a corner three, and Contrares made them pay on the other end with another move to the hoop, giving the Cougars a two-point lead. The Royals got a contested three in the corner with seconds left, but the shot did not fall, and the Cougars grabbed the rebound, marking the end of a close contest.

Contrares was the difference-maker in the game, as the Averett senior led the game with 24 points. For the Royals, senior RaShawn Latimer and Hill each had high-scoring games, with 20 and 16 points, respectively. Thomas and junior Christian Hansen also had big performances, as they each gave strong minutes in their roles.

Although it was a tough loss, the coaching staff was optimistic for upcoming games. “I thought today we did a good job of running our offense … if we do that consistently, we can really win games,” Felix said. “We just have to continue to battle and grind every day, and I think the tide will turn.”

The Royals have the Don Glick Classic coming up this weekend, where they will travel to Bridgewater to match up against Apprentice School and Keystone.

Contributing Writer

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