Abbeville's Joseph Battle attempts to drive by Emerald's Mil Hackett during the first quarter of Emerald's 60-58 win on Saturday.
(ANDREW MACKE | INDEX-JOURNAL)
ABBEVILLE — Heading into his team's matchup with Abbeville on Saturday, Emerald High School boys basketball coach Mark Sorrow told his team that the game would test their mental toughness.
Sorrow knew traveling to face the Panthers in their dimly lit, cramped, loud gym would be a tough test, not to mention Emerald's sixth game in two weeks.
The Vikings proved their mental fortitude, that is for sure.
Trailing by eight going into the fourth quarter, Emerald rallied back to defeat Abbeville 60-58 when Stan Hackett drove the length of the court and dished the ball to Bruce Johnson for the game-winning layup as time expired.
"It's a huge win for us on the road," Sorrow said. "I talked them coming into (Saturday), and even before (Saturday), that this was our mental toughness game. Abbeville is a tough place to play, and they are always going to give you a shot in the mouth here and there.
"I told them, mental toughness, we've got to find a way to win this ball game. And the last four minutes of the game, we played about as hard as we can play."
Emerald went into halftime clutching to a one-point lead, but Abbeville quickly erased it once the third quarter started. DaMichael Cobb scored five quick points to open the quarter, and Joseph Battle closed it with six points as Abbeville outscored Emearld 18-9 to take a 46-38 lead.
But Kelvis Louden and Mil Hackett slowly pulled the Vikings back into the game in the fourth. Louden scored 10 of his 17 in the final quarter, while Hackett poured in eight of his 16. The duo accounted for Emerald's first 18 points in the quarter, but Abbeville still clung to a two-point edge, 58-56, with less than 30 seconds to play.