Bauxite Coach Brandon Kelly had designed the play to go to the other side of the floor. But with his team down 59-58 to Pulaski Academy on Tuesday night, he put his trust into the hands of senior Cornelius Reed.
Reed rewarded Kelly by reworking the play to get himself open in the left corner, knocking down his fifth three-pointer to give the Miners a 61-59 win over the Bruins at Alex Hugg Gymnasium in Little Rock.
"[Reed's] had the hot hand all night. We knew if we get the ball in his hands, something good is going to happen," Kelly said. "I let him have a bit of freedom there at the end. The play was designed to go the other side, but he read it, and he's a high-IQ player, and he made a great shot."
Reed finished with a game-high 31 points to lead Bauxite (11-9, 4-6 4A-5) over Pulaski Academy (3-6, 5-11). Bino Stevens (13) and Matthew Bainter (11) each reached double-digits for the Miners as well.
Reed started the game firing from deep, hitting two three-pointers to finish the first quarter with 11 points and Bauxite trailing PA 20-17. But in the second quarter, Reed picked up his second foul and spent the remainder of the half sitting next to Kelly.
While it could have been disastrous for his offense in the second quarter, Kelly had no doubts about the decision.
"Anytime a kid gets two fouls in the first half, I never want them to get three. It's really hard to come back from that," Kelly said. "At the time we did, it was kind of it was a risk as far as our scoring ability on the floor. But I knew that we had to have him for the four quarters."
With Reed on the bench, the Miners locked down on defense and entered halftime down 31-28.
Reed scored 13 points in the third quarter to give Bauxite a 51-47 lead.
The Miners had a few chances to pull away late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, but Pulaski Academy managed to keep it close at every chance.
"We were scoring, but then we couldn't get a stop," Kelly said. "We would score, and then we go down and give [the ball] up."
With less than 10 second remaining, Pulaski Academy's KJ Colen dove to the floor and was awarded the Bruins possession up 59-58. But when Kenny Jordan missed the front end of a 1-and-1, the Miners -- and Reed -- were given the chance to win the game.
Jordan and the Bruins got one last shot at the rim, but his layup missed left.
Jordan led Pulaski Academy with 22 points, followed Tyson McCarroll's 13.
Pulaski Academy 42, Bauxite 35
Pulaski Academy took the win thanks to an explosive fourth quarter.
The Bruins (5-11, 4-3 4A-5) and Miners (16-7, 4-3) entered the fourth quarter tied 21-21. Through three quarters, Bauxite's Abby Beene led all scorers with eight points.
The Bruins went on to outscore the Miners 19-14 in the fourth quarter thanks to sophomore Stacia Andrews scoring 12 of her game-high 18 points in the quarter.
Fellow sophomore Madison Sanders scored the other seven points of the quarter, including two clinching free throws, to finish with 13.
Bauxite was led by Beene's 13 points and 12 points by Gracie Hill.