The St. Croix Lightning’s Bobby Evans saved his best stuff for last Saturday night against the visiting Magic out of St. Thomas, rising to the occasion when his team needed him most and leading them to a fourth quarter comeback and an 82-79 victory.
With a 66-56 lead early in the final quarter, the St. Thomians were daring Evans to shoot more, so he took up the challenge. He went on to score 16 of his team-high 22 points after the break to lead his team to the come-from-behind victory.
The Hurricane Basketball League had taken a break for the Agriculture Fair activities last week but returned this weekend to the Ronald Charles Gymnasium on the Central High School Campus with one of its most exciting games to date. The teams were evenly matched and both had their moments when they dominated segments of the game. In the end, to the delight of the sparse local crowd, the home team Lightning staged a late rally to come up wth the win.
Lightning Point guard Joelfry Polanco had the hot hand in the opening period, scoring eight points to guide his team to 10 point advantage, 28-18, at the end of the first quarter.
The teams battled evenly in the second period, with the Magic coming away two points better to trail by eight at the break at 39-31.
The Magic came out on fire in the third period and, led by 10 points from their star player, Calvert White, they stormed pass the Lightning, outscoring the home squad 28-15 in the period to take a 59-54 lead at the end of three quarters.
The Magic’s momentum continued in the early part of the fourth quarter as they opened on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 10 points at 64-54 with 5:30 on the game clock. That’s when Evans took his game to another level, scoring seven straight points to get his team within three at 64-61.
Then tragedy struck. The Ligtning’s starting center Kurt John went down with a leg injury with the game hanging in the balance. He was the defensive force in the middle for the home team swatting away and altering many shots during the course of the game. Someone had to step up to fill that void and the player who most noticeably raised his game was forward Warren Christian. Christian attacked the basket for 11 big points down the stretch that well supplemented Evans’ efforts. He was also tough on the defensive boards as the home team was able win the fourth quarter 28-20 and the game by a final score of 82-79.
Evans led three Lightning players in double figures with a team-high 22 points. He was ably supported by Christian, who finished with 18, and Polanco, who finished with 15. For the Magic, White finished with a game high 25 points. The’ Ran Christian and Ricardo Oquendo were also in double figures for the Magic finishing with 15 and 13 points respectively.