HENDERSONVILLE - The Commandos needed a win Tuesday night at home against visiting Portland High School.
Sitting at 2-8 in league play and 10-12 overall, Hendersonville dug deep to climb out of an early hole before holding on for a 46-41 victory over the Panthers.
“I hope this win creates momentum for us,” Hendersonville head coach Clancy Hall said. “We have improved and tonight we stepped up late when we needed to. I’m really proud of them. They needed this win to believe in the work they were putting in was paying off. I’m glad they got it.”
Early on the game looked to be all Portland as the Panthers raced out to a 15-6 lead after the first quarter.
Things quickly changed for Hendersonville. Shots that didn’t fall in the first eight minutes started to find the bottom of the basket, and rebounds that weren’t secured in the first quarter suddenly became controlled by the home team.
Tied at 18 following a 9-0 run for Hendersonville, both teams entered the locker room tied at 20.
“Our rebounding changed,” Hall said of the biggest adjustment. “We gave up way too many offensive rebounds and layups off of turnovers. The guys settled in and they started rebounding with two hands. I was really proud of that.”
Hendersonville continued their run through the third quarter, outscoring Portland 10-5 to take their first lead of the game, 30-25, midway through the quarter.
In the fourth quarter Hendersonville saw their lead grow to as many as nine points before Portland cut the deficit to just two with under one minute left to play.
Leading 45-41 with 26 seconds left, Andruw Stratton got the stop the Commandos were looking for when he blocked a would-be 3-pointer from Mitchell Eagle. The senior guard then trotted to the other end of the floor where he made one of two free throws to seal the win.
Defensively Hendersonville limited Portland’s two best players, Mitchell Eagle and Dairius Bell, to just eight points each.
"Dairius spent the whole night going away from the rim until the fourth quarter and Mitchell felt like he had to score because they tagged him. Son, just play basketball."
Hall spoke to his defensive game plan.
“We wanted to make sure we had the right guys on them all night,” Hall said of the game plan. “Ellis (Ellis) stepped up in a big way defensively for us tonight. They may of had an off night but I was proud of our guys for how they played. They combined for 38 last time we played them so we definitely wanted to try and make the other players score.”
Portland head coach Darryl Travis was not happy with the loss Tuesday night.
"We played like we were scared to death," he said. "We jumped out early then we let up, and they got their confidence and we never got ours back."
Boys Box Score
Hendersonville (46): Drew Hohenbrink 11, Andruw Stratton 9, Jacob Newton 8, Jordan Zuger 5, Ellis Ellis 4, Owen Lampton 4, Justin Biggs 3, Jackson Alford 2.
Portland (41): Mitchell Eagle 8, Dawson Kennedy 8, Dairius Bell 8, Dequan Bradley 7, Duncan Smallwood 6, Hunter Hicks 2, Caeson Utley 2.