by Gary Andrews
The Southwood boys basketball team is getting hot at the right time, as they took on the Bluffton Tigers, Friday in their final regular season game, leading at every stop and topping Bluffton 54-52.
With Bluffton keying on Shane Smith early, junior Corey Phillipy would lead the first quarters offense for the Knights. Southwood took off to a 4-0 start on buckets from Phillipy and Jackson Blair before the powerful Tigers would come back to tie the score.
Phillipy would hit again to give Southwood the lead back and was followed by a bucket from Robbie Cole to lead 8-4 with 3:00 to go. After two Bluffton free throws, senior Levi Sutton would hit with Phillipy draining his third bucket of the quarter and the Knights led 12-7. Bluffton would score the last four points of the quarter and the Knights led 12-11 after one.
Bluffton would hit the first bucket of the second quarter to get their first lead of the night when Ross Phillipy would score on an offensive rebound and was followed by brother Corey with a bucket to lead 16-13. Back came the Tigers, who would go on a 7-2 run to take a 20-18 lead with 3:00 left on the clock when Nathan Hollars knotted the score with a bucket.
Bluffton would lead 25-22 with 1:47 left when the Knights would make one more push. Corey Phillipy and Shane Smith hit before Phillipy converted a three-point play to put Southwood up 29-25 before Bluffton scored the final bucket of the half and Southwood led 29-27.
With Phillipy scoring at will, Bluffton couldn’t key on Shane Smith anymore and Smith would give Southwood a four point lead to start the third quarter before the Tigers hit back to back three’s to lead the Knights 33-31. Back came Corey Phillipy with two buckets to give the Knights the lead and Bluffton answered.
Tied at 35 the Knights would make a run. Shane Smith converted a three point play, followed by a Levi Sutton steal for a bucket, plus another Smith bucket to lead 42-35. Bluffton would stop the run with a three that was answered by a Jackson Blair bucket. The Tigers would then score five straight to cut the Knight lead to 44-43 when Blair hit with .03 left to give Southwood a 46-43 lead with a quarter to go.
Neither team could find the bucket to start the fourth quarter as Shane Smith finally broke the stale mate at 5:03 and was followed by another Sutton steal for a bucket to put the Knights up 50-43. Bluffton would not go away. The Tigers cut the Knight lead to 50-47 with 2:43 left. The Knights worked the clock with Smith scoring with 1:26 remaining to lead 52-47. With not many fouls being called, Bluffton had the problem of needing to foul to get the ball back and needed to do it four times just to make the Knights shoot free throws. On Southwood’s third possession during the fouling spree, Shane Smith found Corey Phillipy for a back door lay-up that iced the game.
Southwood led 54-47 with .21 left and led 54-49 when Bluffton hit a three pointer at the buzzer for the 54-52 final score. Leading Southwood was Corey Phillipy with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. Shane Smith added 15 points, 5 assists. Jackson Blair had 8 points, 3 steals. Levi Sutton had 6 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals. Nathan Hollars had 2 points, 3 assists and 5 steals. Robbie Cole and Ross Phillipy had 2 points each.
The junior varsity team fell to Bluffton 43-36.
Noah Kirk led the Knights in scoring with 15 points. Jacob Lloyd added 7, Luke Elliot 6, Alex Harmon 6, Logan Paris 2. Elliot had 7 rebounds, 4 steals. Lloyd had 5 rebounds and Paris 4 assists.