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Devils down Mustangs in overtime thriller

The Germantown Red Devils beat Houston 74-69 in overtime on Friday. Darrell Brown and Kevin Cheatham both had 17 points for Germantown. Justin Benton paced Houston with 18 points. Germantown is now 19-1 on the season and scheduled to host Collierville this Thursday before traveling to Tampa, Fla. over the weekend to play in the ARS Hoop Fest. Houston is 12-7 on the season and scheduled to host Wooddale on Friday. ABOVE: Germantown players celebrate their overtime victory Friday night. Photo by Kevin Lewter
The Germantown Red Devils beat Houston 74-69 in overtime on Friday. Darrell Brown and Kevin Cheatham both had 17 points for Germantown. Justin Benton paced Houston with 18 points. Germantown is now 19-1 on the season and scheduled to host Collierville this Thursday before traveling to Tampa, Fla. over the weekend to play in the ARS Hoop Fest. Houston is 12-7 on the season and scheduled to host Wooddale on Friday. ABOVE: Germantown players celebrate their overtime victory Friday night. Photo by Kevin Lewter

The Germantown Red Devils beat Houston 74-69 in overtime on Friday. Darrell Brown and Kevin Cheatham both had 17 points for Germantown. Justin Benton paced Houston with 18 points. Germantown is now 19-1 on the season and scheduled to host Collierville this Thursday before traveling to Tampa, Fla. over the weekend to play in the ARS Hoop Fest. Houston is 12-7 on the season and scheduled to host Wooddale on Friday. ABOVE: Germantown players celebrate their overtime victory Friday night. Photo by Kevin Lewter

 

By BILL SORRELL
Safe for now.
Admitting superstition about his beard, Germantown senior forward Cooper Foreman has not shaved since the Red Devils lost their only game of the season, to Jonesboro, Ark., on Dec. 12.
“Keeping the beard, keeping the beard,” said an excited Foreman after Germantown’s close-shave 74-69 overtime victory over archrival Houston on Friday at Houston.
“There is nothing better than beating Houston. I’d rather go 1-20 and beat Houston,” said Foreman, who plans to shave if the Red Devils lose.
Their 10th straight win improved the Red Devils to 19-1, 7-0 in District 15-AAA and maintained their second place ranking in Shelby-Metro and third place in the Associated Press state AAA poll.
In what Houston head basketball coach William Buford called “A Border War” and “Battle of Germantown,” the Mustangs played with an intensity they had not shown in other games he said.
“Tonight our intensity was high the whole game. Through mistakes, they never dropped their heads. They always felt like they were going to win and they put themselves in position to win,” he said. “When you are playing guards on a team that is senior-laden you have got to take care of the basketball. That is the most important thing.”
With Houston leading 69-68, Rodney Williams got a steal and Jonathan Bins scored with 1:04 left in overtime to give the Red Devils a 70-69 lead.
It was their first lead since Williams had intercepted a pass and scored a free throw with 1:03 left in regulation to put Germantown on top 62-61.
The Mustangs’ Ryan Boyce put Houston ahead 63-62 with 51.8 seconds left before another free throw by Williams tied the game four seconds later. A buzzer shot by Houston captain Justin Benton went in and out forcing overtime, 63-63.
Boyce’s free throws put Houston ahead 65-63 before Jonathan Bins tied it. Again, Boyce gave Houston the lead, this time 69-66 with 1:55 left.
The Red Devils scored eight straight points, including two free throws each by Dacoda Stone and Darrell Brown. Brown’s free throws came with 6.5 seconds left.
“Free throws at the end,” said Foreman were the difference.
Stone, who finished with three points, said confidence fueled his pressure-packed free throws.
“I was very confident that I could make the shots. I practice on them all the time. I knew when I went up there I was going to make them. We were tough at the end and we played together because we are family. It was a very important win. We always love to beat our rivals.”
Coaching in his first Germantown v. Houston rivalry game, Germantown coach Jason James, who coached the men’s team at the University of Tennessee at Martin from 2002-2014 and was head coach from 2009-14, said his team kept “fighting and scratching. We have got 13 seniors. They knew what to expect. They were able to stay together and get through it. They knew what they had to do. They know how to play and it was just a matter of them continuing to execute and they did. I am really happy for them.”
Buford called the loss “tough. They (Red Devils) played extremely well. We had an opportunity to win but felt like we made some crucial turnovers. We made freshman and sophomore mistakes. Turnovers were the key. We have to take care of the ball basically in late-game situations. We will clean them up and we will be fine. I am very proud of my guys.

Kevin Cheatham

Kevin Cheatham

 

“We don’t have to be great in January. You need to be great in February. Hopefully by being in this game, we will be put in this situation again and we will overcome. It’s not something they (Red Devils) did. It’s a senior laden team. Germantown is a great team. They have senior guards, great senior leadership. They have 13 seniors and they played eight seniors. Even though you have a big lead, they are still going to come back and make a run and they did,” said Buford, in his sixth season as Houston head coach.
The loss dropped the Mustangs to 12-7, 3-3 in district. The teams play at Germantown on Feb. 5.
“I can’t wait until we get to go over there and play them,” said Buford.
Germantown will host district rival Collierville on Thursday in its “Winterfest” game, similar to homecoming. The team will fly to Tampa on Friday to compete in a showcase tournament, the ARS Hoopfest.
They will play Berkeley Prep at 8 p.m. (EST) Friday and Tampa Catholic at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
In the victory over Houston, three Germantown players scored in double figures with Brown and Kevin Cheatham each scoring 17 and Bins scoring 15. Four Houston players hit double-digits with Benton, who is a senior, scoring a game-high 18 points. Ryan Boyce added 16, Bruce Guy 12 and Ty Robinson 11.
The Mustangs soared to a 13-point lead in the second quarter when Benton’s free throw put them ahead 24-11 with 6:19 left in the second quarter. That topped a 15-0 run by the Mustangs.
Williams’ dunk had given Germantown an 11-9 lead with 2:20 left in the first quarter. The Red Devils did not score again until Cheatham hit a three-pointer with 6:04 left in the second quarter.
The Mustangs got seven straight points from Boyce, a sophomore and one of three 6-5 Houston players. (Freshmen Bruce Guy, Jr., and Takori Rooks are also 6-5). Boyce’s dunk put the Mustangs ahead 13-11.
A trey by Robinson and his basket 29 seconds later gave the Mustangs a 23-11 lead. The Red Devils were able to cut it by five by halftime, 31-26, when Michael Bamrick scored after his own rebound.
In the third quarter Bins got the Red Devils closer, 31-30, but Houston was ahead 38-35 on a basket by Benton. Cheatham’s trey then tied the game with 4:12 left. Cheatham’s steal and dunk gave Germantown the lead at 3:16, 40-38, before Benton dunked for a 44-42 Mustang lead. Jacob Ivy’s basket put the Red Devils ahead 47-46 at the end of the third quarter.
It was announced at the end of the third that $1,667 had been raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by fans at the game.
A trey by Brown got the Red Devils their biggest lead of regulation, 50-46, to begin the fourth quarter. Houston then took a five-point lead, 59-54, on a trey by Robinson and a free throw by Kavious Newsom with 3:13 left.
Robinson’s free throw put Houston on top 61-58 before three straight points by Bins tied it at 61.
While Buford anticipated that the Mustangs’ biggest hindrance down the stretch would be rebounding, he said, “We did a great job on the defensive boards.”
What did hurt was point guard Brian Harper fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. Harper left with nine points.
“We had our shooting guard handle the ball more. They kind of got the ball of his hands,” said Buford.
Buford was pleased with the play of Benton, Robinson who came off the bend, Boyce and Newsom, who finished with three points. “They played a great game. Bruce Guy had a tremendous game,” said Buford.
James, who coached at Blytheville, Ark., in 2014-15, said that his “young men fought and scratched and were able to get over the hump. I think it was a good team win. Houston is a good team. We have got to continue to get better. That is the name of the game. We need to get better in everything. We have got to guard better, rebound better; the process never stops.”
Ivy scored 2, Bamrick 2, DeMarcus Mitchell 8, Myles Montgomery 2, Stone 4 and Williams 7 for Germantown.
Foreman was the Red Devils’ first substitute with 1:18 left in the first quarter.
Germantown senior Matt Ward made signs for Foreman and Bamrick. “Coop There It Is” for Foreman and “Bammer Time” with a clock showing 7 p.m.
A straight-A student, Foreman was recently elected president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is vice-president of the student government.
“We have been playing together since the sixth grade. In eighth grade we won the middle school state championship,” said Foreman. Along with its 13 seniors, Germantown has two juniors. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Foreman.
James said that the group of seniors is the most unique factor about the team. “We try to execute at a high level.”
His biggest transition from coaching college to high school has been no shot clock in preps.
Most Houston players are averaging about 12 points. Jimmy Jenkins, a senior forward, is also a team leader.
Boyce is averaging a team-high eight rebounds per game.
Buford’s teams press “a lot defensively” and try to put man-to-man, in-your-face pressure. Offensively, the Mustangs have an inside presence which they have not had in recent years said Buford.
They are playing without Marlon Hunter, who was all-state last season. He is starting at Western Kentucky University and is 12th in steals in Conference USA.
With the first meeting between Houston and Germantown in the books, Buford called the rivalry “one of the best in Memphis. We are so close in proximity and Germantown schools chose Houston High School to be the flagship of Germantown and not Germantown High School which has been in the past.”

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