ONA — Sectional tournaments don’t open for another few days, but Capital has gotten that postseason feeling going. For the second time in four days, the Cougars got a last-second score to pick up a win.
Daimarquis Brooks hit a stop-and-lean shot in the foul lane with 4.7 seconds left Tuesday night, giving Capital a 61-59 victory at Cabell Midland in both teams’ regular-season finale.
The Cougars (14-8) trailed by 11 points late in the third quarter of the matchup of top-10 Class AAA teams, but were able to rally by making 8 of 13 fourth-quarter shots despite missing starting point guard De’Mahjae Clark, who sat out the game for an attendance issue.
On Saturday, Capital edged Huntington 64-63 in the Mountain State Athletic Conference fifth-place game at South Charleston when Elijah Poore hit the second of a two-shot foul with 1.4 seconds left. Cougars coach Matt Greene said the pressure of the moment shouldn’t be too big now for his team as it heads into sectional play next week.
“We hope not,’’ Greene said. “We practice these things in practice every day, so I think some of that’s paying off for us a little as far as execution and having the confidence to finish the game.’’
In the final 3:33 on Tuesday, there were four ties and seven lead changes as each team was up to the challenge.
Midland (18-4) took its final lead on a pair of K.K. Siebert free throws with 1:36 left, giving his side a 58-57 lead. Ekia Wicker, starting in place of Clark, hit a driving shot eight seconds later to put the Cougars back in front.
Cory Sweeney knotted the game for the No. 7 Knights by making the first of a two-shot foul with 27 seconds left. After that, Brooks — who also played point guard in Clark’s absence — whittled down the clock dribbling near midcourt. He darted into the foul lane, stopped just inside the free-throw line and with no one to pass to, went up for a shot that rolled in. Midland fans and coaches disputed the play, saying Brooks shuffled his feet.
Midland got the ball to Chandler Schmidt along the right sideline for a running bank shot that missed ahead of the final buzzer. The Knights, in losing their 11-point edge, converted just 2 of 7 shots in the fourth quarter and had three turnovers.
“This has been a problem for us throughout the year,’’ said Midland coach J.J. Martin. “We get an 11-, 14-, 15-point lead and we just start going too fast. We don’t do a good job of recognizing that we don’t have to continue to go up and down the floor and continue to take quick shots. It was one pass and a quick shot or turn the ball over. You come down quick and miss and that’s a win for [Capital], and I don’t think we understand that.’’
Karrington Hill led No. 9 Capital with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, and three steals was backed by Kerion Martin (11 points, six rebounds), Wicker (11 points) and Brooks (seven points, seven rebounds). Those four scored all 22 of the Cougars’ fourth-quarter points.
“I think it was our depth more than anything,’’ Greene said. “Ekia came in and did a great job. Damarquis came in and did a great job on the point for us. Both of them did a great job. Our depth was hurt a little because Kerion was banged up and had to sit a little bit, so that really helped and hurt us. That’s the makeup of our team right now.’’
For the Knights, who won their earlier game with Capital 62-52, Chandler Schmidt scored 19 points, Siebert added a big double-double (15 points, 17 rebounds) and Dominic Schmidt had 11 points. Midland led off the boards 39-26.
“We’ve got to figure out somebody to take that leadership role,’’ Martin said, “[knowing] when to push the ball and when to put us in an offense. Capital got down 11 and did what they usually do, pressure, and we didn’t do what we usually do. We didn’t stop the ball in transition very well at all tonight. Martin and those other kids were able to get a rebound and push the ball all the way up the floor for layups, which shouldn’t happen.’’