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The NBA comes to Sneads

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Grand Ridge’s Chris Johnson and Sneads  Steve Sprouse  wait for the ball to fall Grand Ridge’s Chris Johnson and Sneads Steve Sprouse wait for the ball to fall Shelia Mader

It wasn’t a Celtics/Lakers matchup but the intensity was just as prevalent when the Sneads Old-Timers took the home court against the Grand Ridge Old-Timers last Friday night. Hurricane Michael changed the venue, but for the night, there was no mention or thought of Michael’s sweep through Jackson County. When all was said and done and the final buzzer sounded with no oxygen being required throughout the four quarters, it was Sneads with a 48-44 win, giving them bragging rights for the next year. 

Chris Johnson surpassed all expectations of not going more than three minutes when he lasted three minutes and 25 seconds and left with a round of applause and cheers.  Jumping John Smith was the work horse for the Indians along with lots of help from Teddy Garrett, Pat Garrett, Terrence Ellis, Terry Decree, Vershawn Perry and Desmond Simms.  

Sneads had their counterattack planned beautifully with now coach Isaac Livingston ably loaded with Blake Fitzsimmons, Steve Sprouse, Jason Milsapp, Jason Patterson, Doug Lewis and Phillip Wilson.  

Breaks were few and far between with the two teams battling for the prized “Jackson County Old-Timers” championship.

It was Grand Ridge on the board first with less than a minute off the clock but Sneads quickly answered with a shot from DOWNTOWN and the contest was on. Grand Ridge answered with a shot from way outside. Not to be outdone, Sneads came back with a pair of threes, making it a 9-5 game. The Grand Ridge faithful fans were getting restless, demanding a new ball with air in it, convinced the shots were going in and out of the basket due to improper inflation. Jumping John squashed their concerns briefly when he made a pair of buckets and added one from the charity stripe to give the Ridge a 10-9 brief lead.  A shot from way outside made that lead short-lived but a basket by Grand Ridge tied the game at 12. It was Sneads getting the last shot of the first quarter to take a 14-12 lead. 

The Ridge opened the second quarter with a downtown shot and added a bucket for insurance and a 17-14 lead. Sneads went to the line for one and then added a bucket and once again, it was a knotted game at 17. Four seconds later, Sneads answered with a three while Grand Ridge countered with a bucket. Buckets exchanged and a shot from the line and once again the game was tied at 22 with 2:40 until the half and the defibrillators could get to work to prepare the teams for the second half. The Ridge took the lead with a three 25-22 with 1:30 left but it was Sneads answering with a three of their own and another tie at 25. Grand Ridge had the last laugh of the first half with a downtown shot and a 28-25 lead going into the half. 

The lead continued to change between the east and west coast teams throughout the first part of the third quarter with Sneads pulling away 38-32 at the end on a 6-0 run.  A free throw for the Ridge and one for Sneads brought a little objection from the bench. Chris Johnson could be heard saying, “I think we getting some bum calls around here,” which brought another round of laughter.  Sneads added another bucket to make it an eight-point game with 5:16 left in the fourth. A three by the Ridge and a pair of buckets by an always competitive Jumping John narrowed the Sneads’ lead to 42-41. Not to be outdone on their own court, Sneads rallied to take the win 48-44.  You could hear lots of laughter, lots of reminiscing that let you know it was not about wins or losses but helping their alma mater’s programs. That being said, a few Grand Ridge loyals did mention the absence of Wayne and Donnie Edenfield on the court could have changed the outcome. 

The proceeds of the game will be given to Grand Ridge and Sneads basketball programs.  The proceeds were enhanced by a cake auction and a half-court shot where many, many youngsters dug deep in their pockets to participate. 

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