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Tucker escapes with a 'good w', defeats M.L. King 57-56

Tucker head coach, James Hartry talks things over with his players during timeout against M.L. King

On Friday, the Tucker Tigers boys basketball team was back in action and looking for their 11th consecutive win and in order do so, they would have to take down the M.L. King Lions, who looked to avoid the regular season series sweep by the Tigers. The two teams met back on January 5 at the Lions' den and the Tigers picked up the 83-53 win.

Understanding that M.L. King would look to come in and play spoiler on Friday as the Tigers hosted their senior night, Tucker would open up the first quarter on an 8-0 run and go up by as many as 11 points in the quarter, however the Lions would battle back to get with six points by the end of the period as they trailed 17-11. And while being outscored 12-11 in the second quarter, the Lions had a solid period and would find themselves down 29-27 ending the the quarter on a Quamon Ellison basket.

Keeping the momentum in their favor, the Lions would outscore Tucker 17-8 in the third quarter and would take their largest lead of the night as they led 44-37 the end of the period, however the Tigers would claw their way back and give the fans in attendance a thrilling finish. It began when Tucker's Khayri Dunn would go to the free throw line with the Tigers trailing 54-53. While Dunn would fail to connect on the two free shots, Tucker would come up with a steal and lay in to take a 55-54 lead.

With less than 30 seconds remaining, the Lions would eventually regain the lead thanks to Kennedy Ruzvidzo Jr. knocking down a jumper with :09 to go in the game leading to a Tucker timeout. An on the ensuing inbounds play Dunn would get the ball and push it up court, spin past a defender and lay the ball up and in to give the Tigers the 57-56 lead with three point five seconds to go. The Lions would get off a shot from half court, but would not get the game winning shot to go down as the Tigers picked up the win.

"It was a hard w, and it was an ugly w, but all w's are good," Tucker head coach, James Hartry said after the Tigers picked up the senior night win noting that he just need his players to fight their way back into the game to give themselves a chance for the win. And while the final basket of the game by Dunn sealed the win for Tucker, Hartry credited the Tigers for their defensive efforts that led to them taking the 55-54 lead for being the key turning point. "We made a good steal inside of 30 seconds to get the lay up and I thought that was the difference make," Hartry added.

And as for Dunn, who finished with 15 points, including the eventual game winner, having the final play call designed for him to have the ball in his hands strengthened his appreciation for Hartry's trust in him. "He always has that trust and confidence in me. Every time it's a late game situation, he wants the ball in my hands," Dunn said of Hartry, who he said he was thankful for. The Tigers will be back in action on Tuesday when they host the Arabia Mountain Rams in another region showdown.


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