D’Marcus Peake took matters into his own hands on Saturday night.
After a free throw tied the game with less than 15 seconds to go, Stanhope Elmore was set up to inbound the ball. Peake stood at mid-court as Wetumpka full-court pressed the Mustangs.
Stanhope passed the ball twice to get up the floor, but the Mustangs’ third pass was intercepted by Peake. With only five seconds left in overtime, Peake dribbled the ball back down the court.
He looked to drive to the basket, but the lane was closed off. So he dribbled back out to the right with two defenders on him. Running out of time, he turned around and threw up a deep shot.
As Peake hit the floor, the ball fell through the net and the Wetumpka student section stormed the court.
Peake’s shot lifted Wetumpka past rival Stanhope Elmore, 75-73, in overtime in a big area matchup between the two teams.
“I read the pass and reacted,” Peake said of the play. “As soon as he passed the ball, I was right there waiting on it. I came back down and had no help so I turned around and shot the ball. I looked at the clock and saw there was only two seconds left so I just shot it. I wasn’t confident, but I chunked it up there.”
Peake’s buzzer-beater gave Wetumpka (14-7, 1-4 in area play) its first area win of the season. The shot also ended one of the biggest back-and-forth games of the season.
The Indians led for most of the game, but Stanhope Elmore refused to quit. Wetumpka led by as much as 18 points in the first half, but the Mustangs were able to cut the lead to only 10 points at the end of the third quarter.
Behind a stellar night from guard Dillon Barnes, Stanhope Elmore was able to tie the game with under a minute left in the fourth. Wetumpka’s Nate Rogers had a last-second shot attempt at the end of regulation, but it was blocked and the game went to overtime.
Stanhope Elmore led by one point with 15 seconds left in overtime, but Rogers knocked down one of his two free throw attempts to tie the game, 73-73, before Peake’s heroics in the final seconds.
“This was very big,” Wetumpka coach Steven Thomas said. “We’ve lost some close games here in the area, but we keep preaching to the guys to keep playing together and they’ll see success. I told them that this is a tough area and anyone can beat anyone at anytime, so this was a big game to build some momentum and see that success work.”
Peake and Rogers each paced the Indians with 19 points each, while Stanhope Elmore’s Barnes led all scores with 37 points.
GIRLS: Wetumpka 58, Stanhope Elmore 46
Emily Smith couldn’t miss on Saturday night.
Smith, one of Wetumpka’s sharpshooters, hit six 3-pointers to lead the Lady Indians past rival Stanhope Elmore. She led all scorers in the game as Wetumpka improved to 4-1 in area play.
“She came in early voluntarily to shoot, and she told me they made about 500 shots before the game,” Wetumpka coach Harriet Winchester said of Smith. “She felt confident, so we knew she was going to have a big game tonight. We’re proud of her for stepping up when she needed to.”