published Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Fritz makes overtime winner for McCallie

Baylor's Tyler Seaberg (22) reaches to block McCallie's Javaughn Craig Saturday at Baylor School's gym.
Baylor's Tyler Seaberg (22) reaches to block McCallie's Javaughn Craig Saturday at Baylor School's gym.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

A close game amid a lot of emotion with a wild finish.

As both coaches put it after McCallie's 53-52 overtime victory: "Just another typical Baylor-McCallie game."

Players on both teams had chances to win Saturday's Division II-AA East/Middle Region high school basketball game at Baylor, or at least strengthen their team's chances. But with both student sections charged up and relentlessly chanting and yelling throughout, trying to make plays in the clutch, proved to be even tougher than usual.

Ultimately the Blue Tornado's C.J. Fritz, who hadn't scored all night, drove the lane for a twisting layup with seven seconds to go in overtime for the winning basket. Matt Clendenen had made both ends of a one-and-bonus situation to put the Red Raiders up by one with 17.8 seconds showing.

"The kids were under a great deal of stress on both teams," Baylor coach Austin Clark said. "I thought it was an exciting game. Both teams had their chances to win before they did. That's the way it goes."

Before Clendenen went to the line, Baylor had made 3 of 9 free throws in the last 1:24 of regulation and overtime. McCallie made 5 of 10 in the final 2:01 and overtime, including Chauncey Alford missing two with 2.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 49.

"I think it was the archrival thing," McCallie coach Dan Wadley said. "It's an enormous amount of pressure these kids put on themselves. The guy we had at the line with a chance to win it with two seconds left, he's a senior and he was shaking."

The Blue Tornado ended up 11-for-21 from the line -- one night after making 20 of 26 free throws while winning a region game at Brentwood Academy 63-55. Baylor made 11 of 27 free throws.

Wadley used a timeout between Clendenen's late free throws and set up McCallie's last possession. Clark had his team in a man-to-man defense but said the Red Raiders came out too high on the floor and that allowed Fritz a chance to go around.

"We had our chances but just didn't execute our stuff down the stretch," Clark said. "We did some things out of character. We took some shots we didn't need to take with the lead. That's young kids. I've got to do a better job of coaching them."

Although Fritz's game-winner was a layup, it was anything but an easy one.

"I thought they didn't want to foul him," Wadley said. "That's why we wanted to attack the rim. It was a physical game throughout. There were bodies flying everywhere."

Adrian Thomas led McCallie (8-9, 3-0) with 13 points and JaVaughn Craig added 12. Reserve post player Cam Walker scored 10 of his 11 in the second half.

Clendenen paced Baylor (10-6, 1-2) with 25 points. Sammy Lupas totaled 10 after having a scoreless first quarter.

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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