Packers can#8217;t hold late lead,drop opener to Jamestown

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2007

SMITHFIELD—Sometimes the easiest parts of the game can cause a head coach the most problems.

Smithfield head coach Steve Artis may have felt those same sentiments after his Packer team blew a five-point lead with under four minutes to go in their 48-45 loss to the Jamestown Eagles last Wednesday in the season opener for both schools.

Leading 42-37 with 3:51 left on the clock, the Packers were at the free-throw line with a chance to increase the margin to seven. They did not convert.

Smithfield shot a dreadful 2-for-10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, including missing their last five free throws.

“It was the fundamentals,” Artis said. “Missed free throws, missed layups, turnovers: They were a major factor that caused us to lose the game. We worked hard, but we didn’t dig down deep enough.”

After scoring only four first quarter points, the Eagles caught fire in the second quarter and took the lead with a 9-0 run that gave them a 13-9 lead midway through the second quarter. Jamestown led 22-19 at halftime on the strength of 12 first-half points from Steven Bennett, who finished with a game-high 17 points.

The third quarter was the best of the night for Smithfield, which outscored the Eagles 16-8 to take a 35-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Both teams made scoring runs in the final period. Jamestown began the final stanza with a three from Bennett and a layup by Myles Antonini. That was followed by a 6-0 spurt by Smithfield to push its lead back to five.

Jamestown took the lead two minutes later after a 6-0 run made the score 43-42.

The Eagles went up by four with 48 seconds remaining, but a basket by Pittman reduced the lead to two with 23 seconds left. The Packers had a chance to tie with 12 seconds left on the clock, but Lamonte Baldwin was not able to convert the free throws.

Rodrick Bowser finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds for the Packers while CJ Pittman scored 10 off the bench.

Keyandre Grant added 8 points, 4 assists and 3 steals.