Bears’ post man sinks final shot to put away Ferriday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

FERRIDAY, La. &045; In accord with the holiday spirit, Block’s Jeremy Washington just gave and gave and gave.

He gave all he could &045; 3-pointers, rebounds, little 10-foot jumpers and a big shot at the end that was the difference. The 6-5, 215-pound big man in the middle for the Bears tried to give his club all he could just like he did in football, and with 20 seconds left he left his team feeling as if it was Christmas morning.

The jumper went in, and the Bears held on for a 54-53 win over Ferriday Friday night.

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&uot;Coming out of football, I had to adjust a little bit,&uot; said Washington, who poured in 30 points, including 19 in the second half. &uot;After coming off losing to St. Edmund’s and coming back that Monday to practice, it was hard coming back that next day and losing to Jena. That was hard. Football shape and basketball shape are two different things.&uot;

He’ll have a hard time convincing those at the Ferriday gym about that.

When the team needed buckets in the crunch, he came through &045; nine of the team’s 11 points in the fourth quarter were on his ledger. But when it came down to the crunch time with the Trojans holding a one-point lead, Washington fired up a 3-pointer that rimmed out.

He fired another jumper, got the rebound and put it back in for the lead with 20 seconds left. Ferriday had a chance on the other end, but Chris Edwards’ shot from close range didn’t fall.

&uot;He’s really stepped up, and he’s the leader right now,&uot; first-year Block head coach Whitney McCarthy said. &uot;You put the game in your best player’s hands, and Jeremy came through for us and did a great job. We were going to use him as a decoy, but he got the shot, got the rebound &045; the ball was right there in his hands. He hustled, got the rebound and put the shot back up.&uot;

As if that wasn’t enough, after the miss the Trojans had to foul to stop the clock. A second foul put the Bears in the bonus with 1.5 seconds left, and Demetrius Bowie missed the front end of a one-and-one to give the Trojans at least a breath.

Washington, however, grabbed the rebound and wouldn’t let go.

&uot;He’s a pretty good athletic guy,&uot; Ferriday head coach James Davis said. &uot;They did a good job on the offensive end. We didn’t defend it well and weren’t moving our feet. When we really, really needed to do it, we didn’t get it done. They came out and got it done. We missed a crucial free throw and could have went up by three, but that’s what happens. We’ve got to continue to work at it.&uot;

The Bears (3-1) got all the scoring from Washington and others late in the game to chip away, but their interior defense &045; Washington in the middle for most of the game in their 1-3-1 zone &045; was the difference.

The Trojans kept attacking the goal for most of the game to get scoring, but they had trouble in the fourth quarter and were held to just four field goals and were shutout after Edwards hit a basket with 2:33 left. It put Ferriday up 53-50.

&uot;Championship teams are always teams that can play big-time defense,&uot; McCarthy said. &uot;We made a couple of adjustments. They were hurting us. In the second half the defense was a lot better. It’s stuff you can work on, and that’s why I’m pleased. We’re still trying to get football out of us. We’ll get better and hopefully win a lot more games this year.&uot;

The defense sputtered a bit in the first of the second half after Ferriday got a couple of turnovers to take a five-point lead midway through the third. Ladrian Davis scored consecutive baskets off steals to take a 38-33 lead with 4:06 left, but the Bears answered with some baskets of their own.

&uot;The defense picked up a lot better,&uot; Washington said. &uot;They gave them a couple of easy shots. We just made up in our minds we were going to play better defense. Defense wins games. No matter what you do on offense, if you don’t stop people on defense, you can’t win.&uot;