01-17 prairiland basketball

Pictured, Patriot Ryan Clark muscles his way into the post in Prairiland’s dramatic one-point win over Grand Saline.

PATTONVILLE — Things went about as poorly as they could for the Prairiland Patriots Friday afternoon against Grand Saline. They refused to throw in the towel, and for their efforts they walked away with one of the most amazing comebacks you’ll ever see, winning 48-47.

Not much went right for Prairiland in the first half. Offensively the Patriots were cold as ice, nailing less than a quarter of their field goals. Defensively, the team struggled to contain Grand Saline’s sharpshooters.

At the half, the Patriots found themselves trailing 34-13.

“We just did not shoot well in that first half,” head coach Steven Weddle said. “But the guys didn’t pout. They kept their heads up the whole time and kept fighting.”

The Patriots made up some ground in the third quarter, as defensive adjustments led to more stops and easy offense at the other end.

Still, though, as the Patriots entered the fourth quarter trailing by 15, it seemed unlikely they’d be able pull off the comeback.

“I remember looking at the clock (early in the fourth quarter) and thinking, ‘It’s going to be really hard to make up all these points,’” Weddle said.

But sure as can be, that’s exactly what the Patriots did.

The team extended its defense into the backcourt, trapping Grand Saline ballhandlers the second they got the ball, which led to eight steals in the final stanza. Leading the defensive charge was Brooks Morrison, Mayson Day and Brylee Galloway, Weddle said.

The team found its footing offensively as well, with several players draining key baskets. None was more impactful than Day, who scored 11 fourth-quarter points.

“We just fed him the ball down low and he took over,” Weddle said.

Ryan Butler made an impact in the fourth as well, contributing five points — including three from the free throw line.

By the final moments of the game, Prairiland had clawed all the way back and knotted the score at 47 apiece.

With just seven seconds left, Morrison came up with a monumental steal and pushed the ball ahead to teammate Jeremiah Harrison, who was fouled on his ensuing layup attempt.

Harrison nailed one of his two shots at the line, and that proved to be the final point of the game, as Prairiland came away with the miraculous win.

Day led the team with 13 points. Butler scored nine, Morrison and Eli Rolen tallied six apiece, Galloway and Brayden Nichols each scored five and Gage Bankhead and Harrison each finished with two.

“Any time you win a game like this, it’s a great feeling,” Weddle said. “I’m just proud of the way we fought and never gave up.”

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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