Parkway's boys' basketball team win tournament
by Jesse Campbell
Parkway surprised Hardin Park with a 42-39 overtime victory in the boys' middle school championship game Thursday at Lentz-Eggers Gym at Watauga High School.
Parkway won its first middle school tournament since 2011. The Patriots, which lost to Hardin Park twice during the regular season, finished with a 14-3 record.
"It was a true championship game," Parkway co-coach Susan Miller, who coaches the team with her brother Timothy Miller. "It was a fun game. They don't get much better than that."
Hardin Park, which won the regular-season championship, finished with a 15-2 record. Hardin Park beat Parkway 28-25 at Parkway in the first game of the season on a last-second shot, and 42-27 at Hardin Park.
At Lentz-Eggers Gym Thursday, the Patriots used skillful perimeter shooting and well timed defensive stops to overcome a five-point deficit late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots took only their second lead of the night with a breakaway layup by Joey Watson late in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles then turned it over to the Patriots in the backcourt of the very next play, but their county counterparts were unable to capitalize on the good fortunes.
Parkway guard Sam Crabbe extended the Patriots' lead to 37-34 with a free throw with less than 20 seconds remaining in the game.
Hardin Park found its hero of the night when Hayes Henderson drained a clutch 3-pointer from the left elbow after he was able to juke a defender out of position.
Confusion among both teams on the placement of the inbound play on the ensuing possession sealed the tie. With less than five seconds to go in regulation, the Patriots quickly pushed the ball up court and Alex Marinakis launched a desperation 3-point shot that found the bottom of the basket.
However, the shot was waved off after Parkway called a timeout, which was hard to hear because of the noise level at Lentz-Eggers, and the ball was reentered on the far sideline with only three seconds to go. The Patriots' final shot of the buzzer was no good.
"We told guys call timeout," Susan Miller said. "We were trying to get a time out, but the gym so loud. One of our players called time out referee saw it before Alex's hand, so that's why it didn't count."
In middle school basketball, only two minutes are allotted for overtime play. Parkway made sure to make every second count in escaping with the win. The Patriots got things started with a deep jumper by Russ Ebaugh before sharp shooter Marinakis followed with a 3-pointer.
The clutch shot was of particular significance for Marinakis, and his teammates. Marinakis had just returned from the game after an injury left him limping off the court in the third.
A pair of free throws by Ebaugh and Crabbe put the game out of reach of Hardin Park.
"Sam had been sick, but he came in and played extremely well," Miller said. "He came through for the team. All of the eighth graders worked together and did well. All of them had a big moment in the game."
Isaiah Finger led the Patriots with 14 points, while Crabbe scored 12 and Marinakis scored 10 points.
Henderson scored 18 points for Hardin Park. Braxton Moffett added seven points.