When the Cox Mill Chargers beat the Central Cabarrus Vikings at home in the first round of the Southern Piedmont Conference boys’ basketball tournament, many doubted the Chargers could win the semifinal game against top-seeded Concord at the Spiders’ home.Cox Mill, seeded No. 4, had lost to Concord twice in the regular season. Concord was undefeated and had never lost to Cox Mill at home.Cox Mill played an inspired game Feb.22, building a large lead against a sometimes-listless Concord team. Concord came back to tie the score late in the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime. In the extra period, Cox Mill went on to win 90-85.The Chargers had come from having no seniors on the squad four years ago, when the school opened, to meeting the A.L. Brown Wonders in the conference tournament’s championship game at Concord’s Rimer Gym. Kannapolis’ A.L. Brown High had beaten Cox Mill earlier in the year, but A.L. Brown’s Tevin Stark had been suspended for three games – which represented the entire tournament – for behavior issues in the game against Concord the week before. So by game time, many thought Cox Mill had a good chance of winning.Earlier in the week, Concord head coach Scott Brewer had commented on the semifinal loss to Cox Mill. He said it was hard to get players inspired to win when they knew they would be the No. 1 seed in the state playoffs the following week and that the tournament game was only for a Snickers chocolate bar.The Cox Mill fans arrived early to fill up the lower levels of Rimer Gym’s stands and neutralized any home-court advantage. Chargers fans loudly chanted “I believe that we can win! I believe that we can win!” during the game. From the beginning, Cox Mill played hard, starting off with a 5-0 lead, only to have A.L. Brown come back to take a 7-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Wonders had built a four-point lead when Jordan Peace hit a three-point buzzer beater to cut Brown’s lead to one at the half, 19-18.It remained close for most of the third and fourth quarters. With 22 seconds left in the game, Brown led by four points, 51-47. Then the Chargers had to use their last time-out, because A.L. Brown’s full-court defensive pressure prevented their inbounds pass after Brown’s score.Cox Mill then successfully inbounded the ball and beat Brown’s press upcourt. Peace put in a quick layup, making the score 51-49 with 17 seconds left. After a quick foul, A.L. Brown’s Joekeem Neal hit one free throw, and it was 52-49 with 15 seconds left. Peace’s jumper with less than 10 seconds left cut the deficit to one.The Wonders had a hard time inbounding the ball before Cox Mill fouled. Keeon Johnson hit his first free throw, making the score 51 to 53 with only 2.9 seconds remaining.Johnson’s second attempt missed, and Peace secured the rebound. He ran down court, dribbling twice, and launched the ball from beyond mid-court, over Neal’s outstretched hands. The clock expired, and the buzzer sounded with the ball still in mid-air.Everyone watched as the ball hit the backboard and bounced into the basket for the winning three points. Cox Mill head coach Brad Hinson threw his hands into the air and ran toward Peace. The crowd enveloped them and the other players on the court.After the trophy presentation, Hinson gathered his players together and gave each a Snickers bar. They had their picture taken with the winners’ trophy, holding their Snickers bars up for the cameras.Concord remained the Southern Piedmont Conference’s No. 1 seed in the state playoffs. Cox Mill, A.L. Brown and Northwest Cabarrus all lost in the first round. Concord made it to the third round. Story went to print before Concord’s third round game March 1.
Friday, Mar. 01, 2013
Mid-court shot wins South Piedmont tourney for Cox Mill
The Cox Mill Chargers' Jordan Peace (12, center) puts up a shot between two A.L. Brown defenders during the South Piedmont 3A Conference tournament championship game at Concord High School. Cox Mill won 54-53 with a buzzer-beating three-point shot from beyond mid-court. MARTY PRICE
Cox Mill High School boys basketball coach Brad Hinson talks to his team during a timeout as they trail 47-46 with 38 seconds left in the championship game of the South Piedmont 3A Conference tournament. MARTY PRICE
The Cox Mill Chargers' Justin Peace (34) launched this 3-point shot from beyond the mid-court line. The shot went in, giving the Chargers at 54-53 win over A.L. Brown High in the Southern Piedmont 3A conference tournament championship game. MARTY PRICE
The Chargers of Cox Mill High School pose with the championship trophy and the Snickers chocolate bars that caoch Brad Hinson gave out after they won the South Piedmont 3A Conference tournament, upsetting both Concord and A.L. Brown high schools. MARTY PRICE