When Budweiser Hawkins soared for a breakaway dunk with less than two minutes to play, undermanned Trinity pulled within three points of Spring Mountain on Tuesday.
And Eagles coach Ed Cheltenham was a little nervous.
“I thought we were going to lose it there at the end because of our inexperience, but (the players) hung on,” Cheltenham said. “That showed a little bit of character.”
Spring Mountain withstood Trinity’s comeback and gained a 48-41 victory in the Class 1A Southern League at Saville Middle School.
Trinity missed two shots and was called for traveling on its final possessions, and Spring Mountain’s Bobby Gomez hit two free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the victory.
Davonte Sandifer and Dijon Riley scored 12 points apiece for Spring Mountain (9-15, 6-3). Jose Martinez added 10.
Despite the win, Cheltenham was dissatisfied after watching his team nearly blow a 14-point second-half lead.
“I think we’re underachievers,” he said. “The nature of our kids is, they’ve never played organized ball. It’s tough for them, especially if we play good teams, to figure out how to handle pressure.”
Trinity (10-11, 2-5) had only six players because of various disciplinary issues. Hawkins, a junior shooting guard, played all 32 minutes and scored 25 points on 12-for-26 shooting.
“He’s had a really good season,” Trinity coach Keith Harris said. “He’s definitely been a leader and tried to keep the team together.”
At halftime, Hawkins had 11 of the Thunder’s 14 points.
Making matters worse, starting point guard Gage Neuwohner was forced to sit out much of the third quarter saddled with four fouls.
Still, Trinity used a 12-4 run to pull within 32-26.
But Sandifer’s 3-pointer from the wing gave Spring Mountain a 40-32 lead early in the fourth that Trinity was unable to overcome.
“It just came down to, we dug ourselves in a hole early,” Harris said. “Trying to come out of it the last 12 minutes is tough.”