PEARCY, Ar. — Lake Hamilton’s record book in basketball will show that senior Andy Tolleson scored 11 points in his first-and-last varsity game. Twice Tolleson was assisted Tuesday night at the Wolf Den by El Dorado players as the Wolves scored a deceivingly lopsided win over the Wildcats, 80-55.
Tolleson’s limited action had everyone in the arena standing, jumping and cheering, and that included the El Dorado coaches and players.
“Andy has been our manager for three years in high school, and two years in junior high,” said Lake Hamilton coach Scotty Pennington. “That boy loves basketball. We decided since it was Senior Night, why not let him dress out for the game. Originally, the plan was for him to get the first bucket and sub him out.
“I told my players if you can get a big enough lead we’ll let Andy come in at the end of the game.”
Wolves get offensive lift from Andy Tolleson
It didn’t look good for a while as El Dorado rallied from 19 points down to only a four-point deficit in the fourth quarter. It really didn’t look good when 6-5 junior Charter Harris went down under the Wildcats’ basket with a dislocated hip and six minutes left. That’s when sophomore Ty Robinson and senior Demetrius Sharp got hot and the Wolves’ lead grew to 71-55 with 36 seconds left.
In comes Tolleson, and an inbounds pass by El Dorado went straight to the Wolves’ Tolleson. He swished a 3-pointer. A Wildcat turnover, and the ball was in Tolleson’s hands again. The officials fudged a little on what could have been a walking call, and Tolleson swished another trey from the same spot.
The highlight of the night was still to come. It appeared an El Dorado player was going to drive the length of the court when he handed the ball to Tolleson. The youngster dribbled two or three times and shot an uncontested 25-footer at the buzzer. The ball hit the rim, bounced up and dropped through for his third consecutive 3-pointer.
Wolves three-game losing streak ends
Players for both teams charged Tolleson, who raised both of his arms in jubilation.
“I told our guys he was going to make a shot, but he hit three in a row,” said Pennington. “It was awesome for him, and I’m so proud we could do something like that for him. There was a lot of God in that. I thought Jimmy Porter (El Dorado coach) was all class, his kids, too.”
Pennington then got serious talking about the game, and ending a three-game losing streak.
“We’ll take a win anyway we can,” he said. “We still didn’t play great. Up by nineteen at one point, and then it was four. Everybody we’re playing right now is shooting the ball better than they usually do. As long as we get to the state tournament we’re a very dangerous team, capable of making a deep run.”
Ty Robinson led all players Tuesday night with 25 points despite leaving the floor with a bloody nose for a few minutes. Senior Demetrius Sharp continued his outstanding play with 21 points. Bryson Boulden led the Wildcats’ attack with 16 points. Boulden and T.J. Dunn combined for six 3-pointers in the second half.
Lake Hamilton plays at Texarkana Arkansas High Friday night. They wrap up the regular season with road games next Monday and Tuesday against Pine Bluff and White Hall, respectively.