In their last home games of the 2012 season, the Azalea Middle School boys basketball teams took both games from the Crescent Elk Cougars.
Maybe it was the fact the game started on the middle school floor and ended in the high school gym; or maybe the power outage at the end of the first quarter; or maybe the high winds in the area.
Whatever it was that caused the “gremlins” to come out, it worked.
Azalea came from behind in the final two minutes of the game to win 41-39.
Sloppy would be a kind way of describing the first quarter.
The Bruins committed six turnovers – they only made three of 13 field goal attempts, yet led 11-10.
Quarter two was no better as the Bruins were one of eight from the field, going over four minutes without scoring a point. Gremlins?
Free throws (five of 13) kept the Bruins in the game as they clung to an 18-17 lead at the half.
The third quarter was won by the Cougars outscoring Azalea 10-6 as the Bruins’ shooting woes continued, making only two of 13. Gremlins again!
It wasn’t until a 3-pointer by Dillion Serna (9 points), one of three he made, that put Azalea ahead to stay at 37-35 with 2:05 left in the game.
After the Cougars scored to cut the Bruin lead to one, goals by Noah James (12) and David Freeman (8), along with timely free-throw shooting, kept the Bruins safely ahead.
Eight Bruins wound up in the scoring column as Azalea shot 21 percent (11 of 52) from the field and 14 of 27 from the free throw line.
When you play a team that has no inside game and depends on a trio of good three-point shooters, you have to hope that they have an off night shooting.
And they did.
The Crescent Elks put up 15 treys, hitting only three, as the Azalea Bruins overcame offensive lapses to win going away, 41-27.
Azalea showed good patience at the offensive end early on as the Bruins used the strong shooting of guard Ethan Jones (5) to lead 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The night’s “gremlins” made an appearance in the second quarter.
Azalea seemed confused on their offensive sets as both teams went just over four minutes without scoring a single point.
The Bruins could only manage two of 12 from the field and two of six from the free throw line during the eight minute stanza.
But at the half Azalea had posted a 17-11 lead.
That lead ballooned to 14 as Alex Bevan (8) got hot in the third period and the Cougars could not buy a trey.
The final period was played even as Azalea’s shooting improved to six of 15 as five players scored.
The Bruins again showed a balanced scoring attack with eight players scoring, none in double digits.
Along with Jones and Bevan, Russell Nichols added a strong inside seven points while guard Brandon Curtis scored eight.
Thirty-three percent was a magic number for Azalea as that was their field goal shooting percentage (16 of 48) and free throws (7 of 21).