By ANDRES MARTINEZ
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
John Wood Community College coach Brad Hoyt issued a challenge to A'Darius Porter.
"(Hoyt) just told me to come out and play my best," Porter said. "(He told me) if I have a good night, then the whole team has a good night."
The Blazers sophomore accepted the test, scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds in JWCC's 74-70 victory over Parkland Community College Saturday.
The Blazers and the Cobras battled back and forth in the first half, and went into the break, tied at 32.
Sophomore Brad Hamilton led all scorers at the half with nine points, with two three-pointers.
"At halftime, he (Hoyt) told us that we looked like we weren't having fun," Hamilton said, who finished with 14 points on 5-9 shooting.
JWCC (14-6) used a 17-7 run to open the second half and took a 47-37 lead.
"The effort got better. We made some big plays early in the second half, that sort of got our guys on their toes," Hoyt said, whose team scored the first seven points of the second half.
Parkland followed suit, as the Cobras went on an 11-4 run to cut the Blazer's lead to 51-48 with nine minutes to play. JWCC regained control and took a 61-53 lead with less than three minutes to play.
"We couldn't get over that hump," Hoyt said. "We were two stops and two baskets away from getting it into a more comfortable lead."
Freshman Kourtlin Jackson made two free-throws with 17.7 seconds left in the game to extend the Blazers lead to 72-65, but the Cobras would not go down. On their ensuing possession, sophomore Mark Gilchrese made a three-pointer to cut the lead to 72-68 with 12.8 seconds to play.
On the following inbound, the Blazers attempted a cross court pass, only to see Porter foul Parkland freshman Phil Miller Jr. when they went up for the pass. Miller made both free throws, and cut the lead to 2, at 72-70 with 11.5 to play. John Wood sophomore Michael Roy was fouled on the inbound, and made both free throws to take a 74-70 and secure the victory.
"We gave up a three, we turned it over, when you do that, it goes from seven to two very, very quickly," Hoyt said. "Turnovers and free throws are things we've talked about all year."