Lions slip past Seminoles for district title, Burrow sinks game winning foul shots with 15 seconds left
Seniors Joel Burrow and Bradey Woodall came up with big plays late in the fourth quarter, helping Manila to an emotional 56-55 victory over rival Osceola, claiming the 3A-3 District Championship Friday night at Piggott.
Down 53-51 with just 58 seconds in the game, Woodall made an acrobatic drive to the hole, finishing off with the bucket while being fouled. The senior sharpshooter completed the three-point play by dropping in the free throw to put the Lions on top, 54-53. Osceola answered when Derrell Brown put in an offensive stickback with just 33 ticks showing on the clock, giving the Seminoles a 55-54 edge. The Lions worked for a good look on their next possession and Burrow was fouled with 15 seconds remaining. The senior calmly sank both ends of the one and one to put Manila back on top, 56-55. Osceola quickly advanced the ball up the court after a timeout but misfired, and Woodall skied for the rebound and was fouled with just four seconds to go. Woodall missed the front end of the one and one and Brown rebounded, then raced to half court and launched a desperation heave that bounced off the rim amidst gasps from the Lion faithful. The final horn sounded and the Manila celebration began.
“We beat a very good Osceola team, maybe the best one since I’ve been at Manila,” said Lion Coach Lee Wimberly. “When these two teams play, you can throw records out the window. I respect Osceola. They play the game the right way. The game could have gone either way. I thought a key run was when we went ahead by six in the third quarter. Osceola did come back to take the lead but that was a turning point in the game. We hit some big three’s tonight at crucial times. But to be honest, I really think what won the game for us tonight was our grit. We took some big charges and pulled down some key rebounds that we had to have, especially the last one by Woodall. I thought we handled Osceola’s full court press well tonight. I thought our team as a hole played well tonight. I’m really proud of our kids.”
The Lions took a 10-9 lead after the first quarter and clung to a 27-26 halftime edge. Back to back three pointers by Burrow in the third quarter, along with buckets by Woodall and Brock Birmingham, gave the Lions a 40-34 advantage, but the Seminoles fought back, outscoring Manila 9-2 over the last 2:44 of the period to take a 43-42 edge entering the final frame. The lead seesawed back and forth in the fourth quarter before the Lions’ last-minute surge secured the championship.
Burrow topped Manila with 23 points while Woodall pumped in 17 more. Birmingham scored seven, Daley Belew had four, Conner Belew netted three while Trenton Thomas chipped in two points. The Lions were 9-14 from the foul line and hit five three pointers.
Osceola placed three players in double digits, led by Brown’s 15 points. Dante Adams and Steveon Fowler added 12 points apiece. The Seminoles connected on 9-15 foul shots and nailed four treys.
Manila kicked off the tournament by eliminating host Piggott 77-56 Tuesday night. The Lions led 16-8 after the first period and moved ahead 37-22 at the half. Manila carried a 54-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
Woodall pumped in 21 points to pace the Lions while Birmingham pitched in 19. Abraham Lopez also hit double digits with 12 points. Burrow scored eight, Daley Belew had five, Conner Belew tallied four, Brian Gonzalez netted three while Garret Hart and Michael Jorgensen chipped in two points apiece. Ty Wagner added one point for Manila. The Lions flipped in 14-18 free throws and banged home nine three pointers.
Brier Staples scored 20 points to lead Piggott. The Mohawks dropped in 15-19 foul shots and hit one three-pointer.
Manila slipped past Corning 52-49 in Thursday night’s semifinals. The Bobcats held a 15-12 lead after the first quarter behind Clint Hovis, who scored seven points. Birmingham kept the Lions close, knocking down a pair of treys while scoring eight points in the period.
A bucket by Burrow put Manila on top early in the second quarter, 16-15. The Lions held the lead until Luke Rogers’ lay-in with 38 seconds left in the half knotted the game at 21-all. Neither team could gain an advantage in the third period with the score being tied on four different occasions, before Dalton Hitchcock’s free throw at the 1:17 mark gave the Lions a 32-31 edge. A Bobcat turnover led to a Burrow basket as the quarter ended with Manila up 34-31.
The Lions led by as many as five points midway through the fourth quarter before back to back triples from Matt Ahrent and Hovis sliced the Manila advantage to a single point, 48-47, with 28 seconds left in the game. Corning chose to foul Birmingham with 19 seconds to go, and the junior dropped in both free throws, putting the Lions ahead 50-47. Hovis missed a potential game tying three pointer with nine seconds left, and the Bobcats fouled Burrow, who sank both charity tosses to put the game out of reach.
Birmingham led Manila with 18 points while Burrow scored 14 and Woodall added 10. Daley Belew tallied five, Trenton Thomas had four while Hitchcock chipped in one point. The Lions were sharp from the foul stripe, nailing 18-21 attempts while finishing with two treys.
Hovis scored a game high 19 points to pace Corning. The Bobcats sank 11-17 free throws and made four three pointers.
Manila will open regional tournament play as a one seed and will face fourth seeded Marshall Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Melbourne.