NEWBERRY — The Newberry Academy boys’ basketball team has played in several close games this season and they have come up short, but when it mattered most they found a way to win.
Tuesday night in Orangeburg, the Eagles defeated Anderson Christian 53 – 52 in a quarterfinal matchup. The win propels Newberry Academy into the semifinals. This was the fourth meeting between the schools this year, and Newberry had won two out of three.
Early Tuesday night it looked as if the Eagles would cruise to an easy win as they opened up to a quick lead. The Lions of Anderson Christian would not go quietly and began playing tenacious defense that stifled Newberry Academy.
The Eagles clung to a slim 12–9 lead after the first quarter, due in large part to eight points from Ryan Smith. Anderson outscored the Eagles in the second period and took an 18-17 lead into the locker room.
Newberry Academy came out strong in the second half, retaking the lead and moving ahead by as much as 10 points. The surge was powered by three long-range bombs by Jacob Epting, who had nine points in the quarter.
The Lions slowly clawed their way back into the game, and were down by only six, 38–32, after three periods. As the fourth quarter wore on, the score tightened, and with 3:26 remaining the score was tied at 45. The two teams traded baskets until Newberry got possession with 26 seconds remaining.
As time expired, senior Justin Suber was fouled and went to the free-throw line with 1.9 seconds remaining. Suber was good on the first shot, which was the difference in the game. A last second desperation shot by the Lions fell short.
Suber finished with 11 points, none bigger than his last. Smith led the Eagles with 17 points. Dylan Skipper and Epting both had nine points.
Other players to score included Luke Carraway with four points, Sean Blanton with two points, and C.J. Connelly with one point. Newberry Academy faces Myrtle Beach Christian in the semifinal matchup.