Saturday, May 17, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
Overcoming double digit deficits twice, the visiting St. Louis Hawks rallied to defeat the Chattanooga Rail Runners, 123-118, in a Central Basketball Association semifinal playoff game Saturday night at the Rossville Athletic Center.
The Rail Runners led by 18 at 101-83 with 6:40 remaining and the Hawks then outscored the hosts 40-17 down the stretch for the win.
The Rail Runners started the game on a hot streak, leading by 12 at 14-2 at 7:46 and led 30-23 after one quarter and 61-52 at halftime.
"In the last six minutes I had the wrong combination of players on the floor who didn't execute down the stretch and that is my fault," said Chattanooga coach Rodney English.
"St. Louis won the league last year so they had the experience of executing in tough situations and this is our first season in the league."
Leading scorers for St. Louis were Corey Hill with 41, Chris Rebuck with 29 and Lonnell Johnson with 21.
UTC alum Dontay Hampton led Chattanooga with 19 points off the bench, followed by Fred Sturdivant (Brainerd HS) with 18 and Alex Wells (East Ridge HS) with 15.
Playing at times like the old St Louis Hawks of the NBA (i.e.Bob Pettit), Hill (11) and Rebuck (13) led the fourth quarter comeback as they combined for five 3-pointers. Chattanooga countered with Sturdivant who tallied 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. Hampton connected on a pair of 3-pointers and a total of 11 points in the fourth.
"It was a combination of us imploding and they executed well down the stretch," said Rail Runners Jonathan Adams (Baylor School/Old Dominion) who had nine points.
Scoring Controversy: At the end of the first half, the scoreboard read Rail Runners leading 61-55. But when the two teams returned to the court, the scoreboard and the official book read 61-52. The St. Louis coaches were visibly upset about the change of the score, but he officials conferred with the official scorer and let the nine point Rail Runners lead stand.
More Game Details Later ...
St. Louis 123, Chattanooga 118
St. Louis 23 - 29 - 21 - 40 -- 123
Chattanooga 30 - 31 - 20 - 37 -- 118
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