Young Harris, Ga. - Gaither Hendrix went in for the layup with 35 seconds left to give the Tornados the lead and Josh Roper iced the game from the free throw line as Brevard escaped the YHC Basketball Arena on Monday night with the hard-fought 72-69 victory over host Young Harris.
Darius Moose led four Brevard (10-11) players in double figures with 15 points, going seven of eight from the floor to lead the Tornados on a 43.5 percent (27-62) shooting night. Josh Jordan added 14 points, narrowly missing his fifth double-double of the season with nine rebounds. Roper added 12 points and five assists, while Hendrix added 10 points, hitting two three-pointers as the Tornados took home their 10th win of the season.
Frank Adams and Steven Viterbo led the Young Harris (5-18) team with 19 points apiece, while O’Neil Lubin added 13 points as all six players who saw action for YHC scored. Bryson Robertson added 12 rebounds and nine points, while Adams completed the double-double with 10 rebounds.
Jordan scored the first two points of the contest with a pair of free throws as the Tornados went up by seven early on a Vincent Dombrowski layup as Brevard held the 12-5 lead with 13:00 to play in the first half. The Mountain Lions battled back to tie the score up at 19 as Matt Preston converted a free throw attempt with 7:17 on the clock, but Roper and D.J. Jordan combined to score the next eight Brevard points and a dunk by Jordan pushed the lead back to six at 27-21.
Young Harris continued to keep the game in check, eventually taking their first lead of the game at 28-27 as Preston drove in for the layup. A late layup by Hendrix tied the score up for the third time of the half at 32 points, but Lubin hit a three-pointer as time expired to give the Mountain Lions the 35-32 halftime lead.
The lead reached double digits in the second half as the Mountain Lions went up 44-34 on an Adams jumper in the paint. Following a three-pointer by Roper, Young Harris built the largest lead by either team in the game at 11 points as Viterbo had a steal and lead the break, taking it all the way to the hoop in building a 48-37 lead with 15:23 to play in the game.
Brevard steadily chipped away at the lead for the next six minutes, before tying the game up at 57 with 7:13 on the clock. Donald Hudson hit four straight free throws before a three-pointer by Hendrix off the pass from Dombrowski went through the net to knot the game up for the first time of the second half.
Adams and Moose traded layups to keep the score tied, before Moose tipped in a Hendrix miss as the Tornados took their first lead of the second half with 5:45 on the clock at 61-59.
Brevard was able to build three point leads twice in the closing minutes of the second half, but the Mountain Lions tied it up at 61 and 68, before a layup by Hendrix gave Brevard the lead for good at the 35 second mark to give the Tornados the 70-68 lead. A foul by Hudson put Lubin at the free throw line with an opportunity to tie it, and the freshman guard from Orlando, Fla. canned the first attempt, but the second one rattled out and Josh Jordan collected the rebound.
Roper was sent to the free throw line, draining both to put the Tornados up 72-69 with 11 ticks left in the game and Hendrix stripped the ball away from Preston with time winding down as Brevard brought home the 72-69 victory.
The Tornados return home on Wednesday, February 16th, as they host Lincoln Memorial University in Brevard’s WBCA Pink Zone game against the Railsplitters. Tipoff for the game in Boshamer Gymnasium is set for 8 p.m.