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by RENALDO DORSETT Sports Reporter rdorsett@tribunemedia.net FREE throw shooting proved to be the deciding, factor in a matchup of GSSSA Senior Boys powerhouses - the CR Walker Knights struggled for much of the game, and the CI Gibson Rattlers made the most of a key trip to the line when it mattered most. Lamont Armaly converted a pair at the line with just 4.9 seconds left to play to lift the Rattlers to a 90-88 win over the Knights last night at the D.W Davis Gymnasium. A three pointer by Prince Braynen went long on the game's final possession as the Rattlers held on for the win. Adney Bethel led the Rattlers and all scorers with a game high 31 points. William Rigby finished with 12 points, Justin Gardiner and Lavardo Mezidor each added eight while Kristen Francis added six points and 11 assists. Laquan Nairn led the Knights with 23 points, Van Huntchinson finished with 21, while Braynen added nine and Joeseph Roberts added 12 off the bench. Late in the fourth, Rigby made the first of two at the line at for an 85-82 lead. A technical foul was called on Francis for hanging on rim in attempt to follow the second with a putback dunk and gave the Knights a chance to pull closer. Nashad Mackey made both shots to make the score 85-84 with 1:22 remaining. Rigby followed with a steal at halfcourt and weaved through a trio of defenders to finish with a layup and give the Rattlers an 87-84 lead with 39 seconds left to play. Mackey would again convert a pair the line to again bring the Knights within one, 87-86 with 27 seconds remaining, however squandered an opportunity to take the lead on the next possession. After Francis missed two at the line, Hutchinson was called for an offensive foul. Rigby again split a pair at the line made one, but with 11 seconds left on the clock, Braynen raced downcourt to tie the game at 88 and seemingly send the game into overtime. Roberts would foul Armaly shortly after the inbound pass to send him to the line and seal the game. Rattlers Head Coach Kevin Johnson said he expected a hard fought battle between the two rivals. "CR Walker is a very good team. It is always a battle and its always a dogfight and that is what high school basketball is about. Being competitive, its a good rivalry and hopefully my boys will understand the importance of taking care of the basketball and execution and possessions," he said, "We turned the ball over alot but hats off to CR Walker, they played an excellent game, they made all the shots they needed to down the stretch to stay in the game but we made our free shots down the stretch so we were able to pull off the big win." Knights Head Coach, Trevor Grant, said his team struggled to close the game out due to their woes at the line and a lack of focus in the game's closing moments. "We let a good game get away because the guys don't listen. They started playing for the fans. They have people telling them things and they listen to what they tell them," he said, "The Rattlers played more aggressive than us and the Rattlers played with more discipline than us because when I told my players to box out there was a problem. If we were boxing out, they wouldn't have had all those second opportunities and we went to the line " The Rattlers led by as much as nine in the fourth quarter before the Knights were able to rally late. They opened the quarter on a 5-0 run before the teams began trading scores. Braynen gave the Knights a 69-68 lead with 5:18 left to play, but it would be their last lead of the game. Bethel fouled out following a layup to give the Rattlers a 77-71 with 3:55 left to play. He propelled the CI Gibson offense all game, as he opened the game with a three on the opening possession and scored 10 points in the first quarter. The Rattlers led 19-8 before the Knights half court trap helped them to close the quarter on 8-0 run capped by a Nairn layup to come within one, 19-18 at the end of the first period. CR Walker was able to take a 37-36 Knights lead into the half and opened the third quarter with back to back fastbreak dunks from Braynen and Nairn for a 41-36 lead. Nairn's buzzer beating three pointer from the top of the key gave tied the game 58 heading into the fourth quarter.


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