The audience was screaming when 6’4” Eric McLaughlin made a 3-point shot that brought the Lynchburg-Clay High School Mustangs back from a 31-31 tie with Peebles High School in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter.
Giordano started the game off with a 2-pointer in the first two seconds of the game, and a 3-pointer from Damin Pierson and a 2-point shot from McLaughlin brought Lynchburg out to a 7-0 lead with 6:15 left on the clock. Giordano kept it coming with another 2-pointer with four minutes left in the quarter that took the Mustangs to a 9-0 lead.
Peebles fought back throughout the quarter, but the Mustangs were unstoppable. By the end of the first quarter, Lynchburg was in the lead 12-9.
Giordano started things off again in the second quarter with a two 2-pointers in the first two minutes, but Peebles crept up with a series of free throws and 2-point shots that brought the score to 20-18 by the half.
Again, Giordano was first to score in the third quarter with a 3-point swish in the first few seconds, taking the ‘Stangs to 23-18. McLaughlin kept the heat coming with a few more 2-point shots that kept Peebles at bay, then put in a slam dunk in the last 40 seconds of the third quarter that brought the score to 31-27.
A 31-31 tie in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter brought the audience to their feet, but a 3-point swish from McLaughlin brought the score back into Lynchburg’s favor at 34-31 with 5:44 on the clock.
Minutes later, a 2-point shot and two conversions from Peebles took the score to 39-38 — a little too close for comfort for Giordano, who put a stop to things with a quick 2-point shot with a minute and a half left in the quarter. Peebles scored again thirty seconds later, bringing the score once again to a tight 1-point lead in Lynchburg’s favor.
Lynchburg struggled to keep the lead until Giordano put in two successful conversions in the last 15 seconds that ended the game with the Mustangs on top 45-42.
“It was two good teams going back and forth all night,” said coach Matt Carson. “It was like a prize fight. This is a heck of a game to have to open with. I’m proud of the kids for their effort. Peebles is a very good basketball team, very well coached. They’re going to win a lot of games this year. It’ll definitely be a dogfight again when we play them in January. I thought at times our defense wasn’t as good as what it needed to be in the preseason, but the kids have bought in. They’ve started to work hard at it.”
The Mustangs will travel to West Union on Tuesday, Dec. 13 to challenge the West Union Dragons in their third conference game of the season.
Lynchburg-Clay — 12 8 11 14 — 45
Peebles — 9 9 9 15 — 42
LCHS – McLaughlin: 6(2)-18, Heindel: 2-1/1-5, Giordano: 6(2)-2/2-20, Lampkin: 2/3-2
PHS – Arey: 6(1)3/4-18, Robinson: 1-2/2-4, Barret: 1-2/2-4, Logan Gordley: 1/2-1, Camron Gordley: 6-3/5-15
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570 or on Twitter @SportsWrighter.