Jarvis, Wildcats rally late to score division win over Jefferson County

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 20, 2002

WOODVILLE &045; Michael Jordan and Mars Blackman had it all wrong &045; it’s not the shoes, it’s the shirt.

Wilkinson County’s Timothy Jarvis swapped from his No. 23 jersey to No. 55 after his original was splattered with blood from a nosebleed.

The new threads felt just fine as Jarvis scored eight of his 10 points in the new number as the Wildcats knocked off division foe Jefferson County 44-41 Friday.

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&uot;I was off at the beginning of the game,&uot; Jarvis said. &uot;But I was able to hit some big shots after starting slow.&uot;

No shots were bigger than teammate Lawarren Seiber’s two free throws with three seconds left to ice the game. Seiber finished with a game-high 15 points to join his friend Jarvis as the only Wildcats in double figures.

&uot;I was scared at first when I went to the line, but during the timeout coach told me to knock down the shots and handle the pressure,&uot; Seiber said.

&uot;Our coach should be coach of the year. It’s been a while since we’ve had this good of a record.&uot;

Those bouquets are intended for Wilkinson head coach Henry Story who has the Wildcats off to an 11-3 start (3-1 district 7-3A).

Story’s wife celebrated her birthday Friday, and the coach couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy it.

&uot;The kids came out in the second half and turned the defense up,&uot; he said. &uot;We started help more when we went to a man-to-man. Lucky for us (Jefferson) wasn’t hitting their outside shots.&uot;

With a little more than a minute remaining in the game, LaKendrick Harried hit a jumper to cut the Franklin lead to one.

Jefferson head coach Marcus Walton opted not to foul the Wildcats, despite being three team fouls away from the one-and-one bonus.

Wilkinson held the ball all the way down to the 15-second mark when the Tigers finally committed their fifth team foul.

Twelve more seconds drifted away until Seiber was put on the line for his chance to be the hero.

&uot;My boy stepped up when it matter most,&uot; Jarvis said of Seiber.

The loss left the defending South State champs pointing fingers at one another for where the blame lay.

Jefferson (4-7, 2-2) watched its 15-point first half lead dwindle away in the third period as the Tigers scored just four points.

&uot;Too many people want the spotlight on this team,&uot; said Dewones Smith, who finished with 10 points. &uot;We’re not playing a team game. It’s a challenge to be on the same team like this.&uot;

This coming from Smith, who received a technical foul during warmups when he dunked a ball.

The man in the middle for Jefferson Juan Wyatt had his way against the Wildcats, scoring 14 points with four jams.

The big man wasn’t pleased with his performance in the wake of a disappointing outcome.

&uot;We got to take our time. We were going too fast and making too many bad decisions,&uot; Wyatt said. &uot;I really don’t have any comment.’

The Tigers blew the roof of the gym to open the contest, building a 15-4 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Wilkinson scored the first bucket of the game a minute in, but didn’t score again until 1:54 remaining in the period.

&uot;We came out and established what we wanted to do with Juan (Wyatt) as the inside presence,&uot; Walton said. &uot;That was a big letdown out there in the second half. We have to learn to play 32 minutes of basketball.&uot;

There were polar opposite teams on the court to open the second half.

Wilkinson used a 12-2 run to tie the game up before Jefferson’s Tony Mackey put back a Tiger miss at the buzzer to move Jefferson back out in front.

&uot;We weren’t making any shots in the first half. I told my team at the half I can’t coach them on how to make shots,&uot; Story said. &uot;Nothing was fallen. We finally started making some shots in the second half.&uot;