Gray Collegiate senior guard Jalek Felton had a lot on his mind coming into Thursday’s game with Huntington Prep (W.Va.) in the opening night of the Bojangles’ Bash at Ridge View High School.
A couple of days ago, Felton’s great-grandmother, Jessie McFadden, passed away, and he wanted to play in her memory. After a subpar first half, the North Carolina commitment scored 26 of his 30 points in the second half and banked a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the War Eagles to a stunning 80-79 victory.
“My great-grandmother passing away a couple of nights ago was what was pretty much on my mind,” Felton said. “I wanted to do it for her. I know she was looking down and smiling. I had to go get it for her.”
The comeback started with 32 seconds remaining and Gray Collegiate trailing 77-70. Felton made two free throws to trim it to five points. Huntington’s Prep Keyshawn Johnson stretched it back to seven with the final of 12 dunks by the Irish.
Juwan Gary, who had 20 points despite missing nearly six minutes in the first half with a missing contact len, converted a 3-point play with 23 seconds remaining to make it 79-75. Gary then stole the ball on the inbounds pass and laid it in to make it a two-point game with 14 seconds left.
Huntington Prep missed the front-end of the one-and-one opportunity. Felton got to half court and called time out with 5.5 seconds remaining. Felton took the inbounds pass in the backcourt and launched a 3-pointer that banked in at the buzzer.
“They never gave up,” Gray Collegiate coach Dion Bethea said. “In the huddle, after we got that last turnover, I told Jalek, ‘No need to play for the tie, go for the win. We’re putting it in your hands.’ He made a big shot for us.”
Felton also was playing in front of his uncle, Los Angeles Clipper guard Raymond Felton. The added pressure might have affected him in the first half, but he took over in the second. After going 2 of 9 from the field in the first half, he went 10-of-14 in the second half to finish with 30 points. He also had seven rebounds and six assists.
“(Raymond) told me to go out, put on a show and do it for our great-grandmother,” Jalek said. “That’s what I did and made sure we came out with the ‘W.’ ”
Huntington Prep’s Keyshawn Bryant finished with 26 points and all five starters finished in double figures.
But it was Gray Collegiate, who opened the season ranked 16th in the USA Today poll, that made the plays at the end.
“Huntington has great length and guard play,” Bethea said. “I told the kids if we could put ourselves in a position to be there at the end. we would be okay.”
HP: Keyshawn Bryant 26, Chase Johnson 16, Keldon Johnson 14, Jon Kabongo 13, Chris Smith 10. GC: Jalek Felton 30, Juwan Gary 20, K. Robinson 9, J. Robinson 9, Bruner 8, Marsh 3, Shields 1.
Lexington 65, Westwood 63 OT
Darius Bryant scored 17 points and hit two free throws with seven seconds remaining to propel the Wildcats over the Redhawks. Caleb Shackleford added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Lexington (7-1). Cameron Wormack led Westwood with 24 points and nine rebounds.
L: Darius Bryant 17, Will Haney 16, Caleb Shackleford 14, Reed 6, Carver 5, Neuberger 4, Foulks 3. W: Cameron Wormack 24, Terrell Harris 17, Barnes 8, Jones 8, Douglas 6.
Keenan 63, Dutch Fork 56
Tariq Simmons scored 23 points, and Dillon Jones added 14 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Raiders in a battle of Top 10 teams in the state in their respective classifications.
Jordan Davis led Dutch Fork with 23 points and 12 rebounds.
K: Tariq Simmons 23, Dillon Jones 14, Stone 7, Sligh-Rogers 7, Marshall 5, Taylor 5, Sinkler 2. DF: Jordan Davis 23, Deuce Dean 15, Dunbar 7, Warlick 5, Vernau 4, Thompson 2.
Abraham Lincoln (NY) 76, Ridge View 62
Railsplitters jumped out to a big first half lead and coasted to the victory over the host Blazers. Donals Flores scored 21 points for Abraham Lincoln (NY).
Kaiden Rice led Ridge View with 21 points and Darien Johnson added 18 in the losing cause.
AL: Donald Flores 21, Mike Reid 12, Kclejuan Brown 12, Wilson 9, Bruce 8, Kondrat 6, Gordan 4, Turner 2. RV: Kaiden Rice 21, Darien Fleming 18, Trakell Fleming 11, Mack 6, Wilson 5, Coatie 1.