The St. James boys basketball team opened its season with a hard-fought 49-46 win Tuesday over Conway.
“You can tell by the score we didn’t have many advantages,” Sharks coach Monty Carr said. “It was a tough game in the last three, four minutes. It was a one-point game the whole time. They had the lead, we had the lead. We were just fortunate to have the lead with the least amount of time on the clock.”
Senior Caleb Duggan hit some clutch free throws down the stretch for St. James. With the game tied at 44, Caleb Duggan nailed one of two free throws to give the Sharks a one-point advantage. Duggan was fouled again with 20.9 seconds remaining, following a Conway turnover, and Duggan nailed his two shots to give St. James a 47-44 advantage.
The Tigers cut their deficit to one on a Kahmil Cooper layup with about 10 seconds left. Duggan got the following inbound pass and was fouled with four seconds left. Duggan hit his two free throws to put the Sharks ahead by three.
Conway made a last desperation 3-point attempt, but the shot missed as time expired.
“We will take any win we can get,” Carr said. “Conway is a very good team and a very well-coached team. They came in prepared.”
TreDarius McCallum had 11 points for St. James and Duggan finished with a game-high 21 points.
“Caleb performed like a senior,” Carr said. “He’s played varsity basketball for four years so we expect a lot of things from him, and he came through. He was clutch for us at the end.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 14-6 advantage in the first quarter, but the Sharks kept battling. St. James went on a run in the second quarter, and outscored Conway 17-6.
“Our guys never gave up,” Carr said. “We were down early and kept fighting back. We had 11 guys rotating and it’s just a great starting point to this thing called a season.”
Reggie Bonner had a team-high 16 points for Conway. Cooper added 11 points, and Malcolm Green had 12 for the Tigers.
“Coach [Michael] Hopkins and the Conway team did not want to come here and lose,” Carr said. “They are very athletic, and very talented. We’ve played each other for the last six or seven years and they always beat us in the first game of the season. We were lucky enough to come out with a victory.”
St. James girls roll
Freshman Kelsi Bachmann had a game-high 14 points to lead the St. James girls basketball team to a 48-25 win over Conway.
“Kelsi preformed well for a freshman,” Sharks coach Stan Patterson said. “She really helped lead this team to a win.”
Freshman Kimmie Hotzelt added 11 points for St. James, and Hannah Price had seven.
Aaliyah Austin had a team-high six points for the Tigers, and Brianna Steele and Tiara Spain had five points each.