By Brian Besch
Second place in District 28-1A was up for grabs Tuesday in Dudley Dickens Gymnasium, and the two contestants needed overtime to decide it. Following a fourth-quarter Zavalla comeback, Leggett would take the game 70-65 in overtime.
The Pirates were out in front for most of the night, but the Eagles managed to come from behind by seven to give the audience bonus basketball.
“It was a nail biter,” Pirate coach Ra’Shod Jefferson said. “We ran out of gas and I have a couple of players that are a little under the weather. They came out and played and I applaud them for playing tough and through that. It had me on my toes. We played through and we finished and we did not give up. They fought through the whole thing. There are games where we play and we give up and don't want to continue to fight. They had the big heart and played through it.”
Jacolby Sells guided Leggett through overtime, scoring seven in the shortened period.
Sells led all scores with 30 points, Jesse Calderas and Joshua Perkins had 15, and Andres Diosdado had eight. Quetien Oliphan provided valuable minutes off the bench, causing havoc on defense.
The coach said getting everyone back will be key for the stretch run of district. He wants to see his squad play team ball, rebound and begin hitting the midrange jumper.
“The midrange jumper, that is what is killing us,” Jefferson said. “We can shoot from outside whenever we are hot, but that midrange is killing us. I stress to them all through practice to box out and rebound the ball on the offense and defensive end and rebound. I have to see what I need to do to get them to box out. We play tough and we play tight on defense, because in practice we play open with no fouls. When you come into the game, you just play through it.”
The win pulls the Pirates into a second-place tie with Zavalla, as the Eagles took the first game between the two. Friday, the team will travel to Burkeville before returning home for the rivalry with Goodrich Tuesday.