Damascus boys climb to top of 1A rankings
1A BOYS BASKETBALL
|#2 Damascus Christian Eagles|
|#4 Life Christian Lions|
DAMASCUS — The No. 2-ranked Damascus Christian boys basketball team avenged an early-season loss to No. 4 Life Christian with a 49-46 home win Friday night to force a tie at the top of the Valley 10 standings.
The lead changed hands for the final time early in the fourth quarter when Damascus center Jesse deLambert was left alone in the corner and swished a 3-pointer to put eh Eagles up 39-37.
"It was my only 3-point shot I tried, but I was really open so I took it," deLambert said. "The moment I released it, I knew it was going in."
Life missed a pair of free throws on its next trip, and the Eagles' Spencer Powers knocked down a pair at the other end to grow the lead.
A few minutes later, deLambert came up big again fending off Life's 6-foot-6 center Kobe Jenson for a rebound. Jenson was whistled for his fourth foul, and Lions' coach J.S. Nash brought him to the bench.
He would sit out less than a minute before heading back to the floor for the finishing stretch.
At least that was the plan.
A Life miss bounced high off the far side of the rim, and Jenson went over the back of Damascus Christian's Zach Nelson in pursuit of the ball.
The whistle sounded.
Jenson lasted six seconds before fouling out.
"We knew it was going to be a big fight on the boards. We had to block out and get as many rebounds as we could to keep giving us possessions," deLambert said. "He was their biggest threat on the boards. Once he was out, it was easier to get the rebounds."
Damascus took a seven-point lead into the final minute when Life Christian point guard Blake Lambert awoke from a second-half slumber. He drilled back-to-back 3s to pull the Lions within a point with 0:48 to play.
Damascus Christian put the ball into the hands of senior sharp-shooter Jacob Zakharyuk down the stretch, and he dribbled around the court like Harlem Globetrotter legend Curly Neal, forcing Life to foul him to stop the clock.
"We had to stay calm and stall the ball, then it came down to free throws to win the game," Zakharyuk said.
He went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line in the final 30 seconds.
Damascus (18-1) moved to the top of the small-school rankings, while handing Life its first loss of the season.
"It feels good to beat them," Zakharyuk said. "We've been putting in a lot of work, so it means a lot."
The Eagles tied the game at 25 when Nate Bogdan beat the halftime horn with a putback in the lane.
Damascus pulled ahead on its first chance of the second half when Micah Colburn fired a bounce pass through the lane that found Zakharyuk cutting down the far side for a layup.
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This story is slated for our Tuesday, Feb. 4, print edition.
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