Nielsen rates high for Pats
Senior hits free throw with 1 second left as Brewer squeaks by Priceville
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Matt Nielsen scored 13 points in Brewer's win over Priceville Friday. But it was his last point that was the most important.
Nielsen hit the front end of a one-and-one with 1.0 seconds left on the clock to give Brewer a 53-52 lead, and the Patriots were able to survive a last-gasp Bulldog effort to walk away with the victory.
"I didn't hear the noise (from the Priceville bleachers)," Nielsen said. "I knew I had to make the shot to help our team win. I put it on myself because I didn't think I had played very well in the game to that point."
The senior's free throw helped give his team a hard-fought victory over the school that was created to relieve overcrowding at Brewer.
"It's such a big rivalry and they were definitely ready to play us," Brewer coach Sam Brown said. "They played a very good basketball game. It was one of those games where it was a shame that one team had to win and one had to lose."
The game ended with some controversy. With 56 seconds remaining and Brewer nursing a two-point lead, Rusty Boyd was called for a foul on a made field goal by Priceville's Steven Hardiman. Hardiman was awarded a bonus free throw but missed that shot and the score remained tied at 52.
Brewer milked the clock down to one second, hoping to take the final shot of the game. Nielsen received a pass on the wing, but was fouled by Priceville's Josh Bedwell as he drove to the basket.
"I thought they called that foul the whole game," Brown said. "All you ask is for the officials to call it consistently and I think they did that."
Priceville's sideline saw the call differently.
"I didn't think we fouled them, but the officials saw it that way and made the call," Haynes said.
Nielsen calmly knocked down his first free throw, then missed the second on purpose. Priceville grabbed the rebound and called timeout as the clock ticked down to zero and the final horn sounded. The officiating crew ruled that the Bulldogs would get the ball back with 0.8 seconds, giving Priceville one last chance to win.
Priceville threw the ball the length of the court, but its last-second shot was blocked by a Brewer defender to give the Patriots the official win.
"We're disappointed that we lost," Haynes said. "We're not pointing to the fact that we're a 2A (school) playing a 5A (school) as an excuse. It doesn't matter; we all play five (on the court) at a time."
Rusty Boyd led the way for the Patriots with 20 points and Brandon Franks added 12. Hardiman led Priceville with 18 points.
Brewer girls 82
Priceville girls 35
Nichole Hayes scored 33 points to lead Brewer to victory over the Lady Bulldogs Friday night. The Lady Patriots shot 66 percent from the field on two-point field goals, compared to 32 percent for Priceville.
Ashley West scored 18 for Brewer, and Andrea Crawford added 12. West also led the team with eight rebounds while Crawford led Brewer with seven assists.
Jessi Smith led Priceville with 16 points in a losing effort. Kiela Hamlin had six points for the Lady Bulldogs.