PILOT MOUNTAIN — Surry Runnin’ Patriots senior Nathaniel Goodman banked in a shot off a missed free throw as time expired to seal a hard-fought 68-64 overtime victory against Winston-Salem Christian in the regular season finale at Armfield Civic Center on Tuesday night.
Goodman poured in 27 points and converted on his last eight field goal attempts as the home team looked for him in the post. Goodman scored 10 in the fourth quarter and six in overtime, including the final two points of the game after he missed the back end of a one-and-one, but got his own rebound and banked in the miss.
Senior guard P.J. Bunke continued his stellar play, contributing 22 points in a consistent effort, including four in the decisive overtime period. Junior Jeremiah Simpson, in his first year in the program, has proven his worth to the team consistently this season, and Tuesday was no exception. Simpson found Goodman in the post several times, especially in the fourth quarter. Simpson dished out nine assists from the wing position. Simpson also collected five steals and grabbed six rebounds, several of which were during key times down the stretch.
As the Patriots controlled the boards the entire game, they were once again led by Goodman, who pulled down 19 rebounds, 14 in the second half as the Patriots sealed the win.
Junior guard Ethan Holt kept the Patriots running in high gear as usual. Holt connected on two 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
“Ethan has been our starting point guard for most of the year, but lately we’ve been experimenting with a few different looks on offense. So sometimes we will put ‘E’ on the wing, which allows him to shoot the 3 when it is there,” Coach Todd Gerber said.
The Patriots started the game without junior forward Brett Lowell, but 6-foot-5 sophomore Luke Childress stepped in and performed admirably, blocking three shots and collecting seven rebounds.
“The young fella came up big for us tonight,” Assistant Coach Paul Bunke said. “Starting Luke was a game-time decision, and he really made the most of it. This was an unusual game for us, in that we didn’t sub at all. The five that were on the floor never gave us a reason to make any substitutions.”
The Patriots’ fans recognized Childress’ efforts as they chanted “Luuuuuke” whenever Childress made a big play.
As the home team got off to an early lead, they committed only one turnover in the entire first half. And once the Lions missed a shot, they typically did not get a second opportunity.
“Even our guards were rebounding the ball,” said Bunke. “We valued every possession, and took good care of the basketball.”
As in the previous meeting between the two teams, the Patriots had to survive an offensive onslaught from Jamal DeShields of Winston-Salem Christian. When the two teams faced in Winston-Salem earlier in the month, DeShields scored 42 and the Lions won the game 64-55. This time, DeShields scored 48 points, including seven 3-pointers. But the Patriots held the rest of the team to 16 points, as DeShields was the only player in double figures.
The Patriots were scheduled to travel to Stokesdale for a weekend tournament at Oak Level Christian on Friday and Saturday.
“We love this team, because there are really no egos,” Gerber said. “It’s a group of guys who are all willing to do their job and fill their role…whatever it takes to win, and do it with a good attitude. We really stress that we finish each game as young men who have not only competed at a high level, but also that coaches and players have kept their Christian testimonies intact.”