In the closing moments, with the Spartans trailing by one, forward Javon Carter rebounded a missed shot and came up with the put-back to give his team a lead with just six seconds remaining.

His bucket proved to be the game winner as East Ascension escaped with a scintillating 59-58 victory.

The first time East Ascension and Dutchtown met this season, the Spartans fell down 11 points in the second half. They made a strong rally in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough.

On Friday night, it was beginning to look like déjà vu. Once again, East Ascension fell down 11 points in the third quarter, and again, they rallied in the fourth.

But this time, they finished the job. In the closing moments, with the Spartans trailing by one, forward Javon Carter rebounded a missed shot and came up with the put-back to give his team a lead with just six seconds remaining.

His bucket proved to be the game winner as East Ascension escaped with a scintillating 59-58 victory.

“It’s big that they stuck together, because they could have easily folded and just put their heads down,” Spartan interim head coach Tyler Turner said. “The guys came together and communicated better. They fought back and refused to lose the game. I’m proud of them for that.”

The first quarter was filled with runs from each team.

Tre’ Joseph scored East Ascension’s first five points to give them a 5-4 lead, but Dutchtown countered with a 6-0 run to give them a 10-5 advantage.

However, the Spartans closed the opening quarter with an 8-0 rally to lead 13-10 heading to the second.

A bucket by Cameron Carter gave East Ascension a six-point advantage, but once again, Dutchtown responded with a run. They reeled off six straight to tie the game.

The game was deadlocked at 28 at the half.

The Griffins’ Gary Smith went off when the two teams met earlier this year. He dropped 37 on the Spartans.

On Friday night, he wreaked havoc once again. To begin the third quarter, he hit two 3-pointers that gave Dutchtown the biggest lead of the game at 11.

It looked like the Griffins were ready to run East Ascension out of the gym, but Javon Carter stepped up for the Spartans. He scored six straight points to trim the deficit to four.

They trailed, 49-46, heading to the fourth quarter.

East Ascension then began the final period with a 6-0 run to go ahead, 52-49.

But Smith then converted an and-one play to tie the game.

That’s when things got wild. Grant Arnet made a layup that gave the Griffins a one-point lead.

East Ascension quickly raced down court, and Hobert Grayson drove to the goal and made a layup that gave them the one-point advantage.

On the other end, Nick Caldwell made a layup that gave the Griffins back the lead with less than 15 seconds remaining.

Grayson then got the ball and sprinted down the court again. He drove to the paint and went for another layup, but it rimmed out. Javon Carter was there to come up with the rebound and make the put-back with just six seconds remaining.

On the other end, Arnet heaved up a long 3-pointer in the closing seconds, but it didn’t go. East Ascension was able to close out the victory.

Smith and Caldwell combined to score 46 of Dutchtown’s 58 points. Smith scored a game-high 25, while Caldwell put up 21.


“I told them that they needed to just settle down and focus,” Turner said. “We were getting what we wanted on offense; we just weren’t finishing. Defensively, we were getting beat too easily one on one. I told them that we needed to stop Gary Smith. He’s their go-to guy. They also have Nick Caldwell, but Gary had been really hurting us. We had to be solid on defense. We broke down a couple of times, but they stayed resilient and kept fighting.”

Four players scored in double-figures for East Ascension.

Joseph was the leader with 15 points. Both Grayson and Steven McBride scored 13, and Carter scored 10—eight of which came in the second half.

“It’s big to start the district off 1-0,” Turner said. “This is huge for the guys to keep them together and keep them focused on our goal, which is to win district, get to the playoffs and be on a roll. I feel like we haven’t even hit our peak yet. We haven’t played a solid four quarters. When we figure it out and lock down on defense, we’ll be in a good position going forward.”