Maplesville boys, girls earn first wins of season

Published 10:03 am Friday, December 13, 2013

Verbena's Jared Mims (15) has his shot blocked by Maplesville's Stevonta Bradley (2) and Kendarius Bradley during Thursday's game.

Verbena’s Jared Mims (15) has his shot blocked by Maplesville’s Stevonta Bradley (2) and Kendarius Bradley during Thursday’s game.

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

In a closely contested matchup between a pair of Red Devils on Thursday night, free throws determined the outcome of both the varsity boys and varsity girls games.

With under 5 minutes left to play and facing a nine-point deficit, Maplesville’s girls (1-1) relied heavily on their free throw shooting abilities in order to chip away at the Verbena (0-5) lead in the closing minutes to pick up a 35-29 win.

After a back-and-forth first period, a Candice Williams three-pointer was the difference in a 7-5 first period lead for Verbena.

Amber Uptain scored a game-high 20 points in a win over Verbena.

Amber Uptain scored a game-high 20 points in a win over Verbena.

Tyesha Lee picked up a three of her own in the second period, and along with solid free throw shooting, Maplesville drew to within one point of the lead at the half, 15-14.

Maplesville’s shooting went ice cold in the third period, with the Red Devils shooting just 1-of-9 from the floor as Verbena built a 26-16 lead going into the final period of play.

With both teams in a double bonus, Maplesville went to the charity stripe repeatedly during the period. Led by Amber Uptain’s 12-of-23 effort from the free throw line, the visiting Red Devils would out-score Verbena 19-3 in the final period to pick up their first win.

Uptain led Maplesville with 20 points, seven rebounds, 12 steals and a block. Williams had 11 points, two rebounds and three steals for Verbena.

A late three-pointer by Christian Agee and two made free throws from Jacob Cleckler wasn’t enough to propel Verbena (3-3) past Maplesville (1-1) as the MHS boys also picked up their first win of the season, 39-38.

A Kendarius Bradley jumper late in the first period allowed Maplesville to edge out a 13-11 lead at the end of one period of play.

With 1:37 left in the second period and down by eight, a Juwan Tyus two pointer, Quandarius Ray three, and a pair of free throws drew Verbena to within four points of the lead at the half, 23-19.

Tyus took over the game to start the third period, scoring six consecutive points to give Verbena its first lead since the first period, 23-25, midway through the third period.

Bradley would see that the Verbena lead was short-lived by adding consecutive baskets of his own, and the visiting Red Devils would end the third period with a 31-27 lead.

Tyus again went to work to start the fourth period with a two-pointer, free throw and three-pointer to give the host Red Devils a one point, 32-31 lead early in the fourth.

Bradley hit a free throw with 6:23 to play to knot the score at 32-all, and with 3:37 to play added two on a put-back following a Damian Mitchell three-point attempt.

Agee hit a jumper from downtown to draw Verbena to within three points of the lead with 1:52 to play, and two free throws by Cleckler made it 38-37 in favor of Maplesville with just 0:38 to play.

Both teams exchanged free throws in the closing seconds, but Maplesville escaped with the win.

A 63-percent shooting effort by Bradley led to 12 points to go along with nine rebounds and a steal.

Verbena’s Tyus led all scorers with 17 points and also had nine rebounds, three steals and a block.