"That was the second time we ran that play," said first year head Tiger head coach, Justin Ward. "The first time it worked. The second time, we just front-rimmed it. We got a good look at it. I don't know if it was a little bit of adrenaline, jitters or what it was, but it was the shot that we wanted."
Minutes earlier, Eatmon shot the Tigers back into the game with three straight bombs from beyond the arc in a 90-second stretch. Trailing 37-30 with 3:30 left to play and struggling to put together any offense all night, the Tigers ran off an 11-2 run. Eatmon's three with 2 minutes left gave Armorel (1-7, 0-1 3-1A) its first lead since early in the first period at 41-39.
Weiner bounced back, and ultimately won the game, without hitting a shot from the field. Drake Melton and Alex Nicholson went a combined 5-6 from the line in the final two minutes to finish the scoring for the Cardinals as they held the Tigers scoreless over that same period of time.
Both teams struggled offensively for the first three periods. The 29 total points in the fourth period were more than the 27 points the two teams totaled in the entire first half.
"We both missed shots at the rim," said Ward. "They (Weiner) were missing gimmies even off of offensive boards. We missed 10 layups in the first half."
Weiner led 14-13 at the end of the first half. To emphasize the Tigers' offensive struggles in the first half, Armorel committed more fouls (15) than scored points.
"I don't know if it was the layoff between games or the distraction of homecoming," Ward said.
The Cardinals capped off the win by hitting five of six foul shots in the final two minutes of the game. The six foul shots for Weiner in the closing minutes were three times as many as Armorel shot the entire game. Weiner enjoyed a 29-2 free throw attempt advantage over the Tigers, but only managed to hit 16, keeping Armorel within striking distance the entire way.
Despite the loss, and the slow start, coach Ward sees his team coming along and getting better.
"We're getting better," he said. "The senior high, they are having to deal with change of a new coach. They had the same guy for a long time. But they are buying into what we do and we're getting better. We had a rough go at it the last couple of weeks, but we had a good week of practice, and today, it showed. Now it's just a matter of keep building on what we're doing."
For the game, Eatmon led the Tigers with nine points. Gray and Sam Warren each had five.
Melton led the Cardinals with 17 and Nicholson added nine.
The Tigers head to Rector on Monday to take on the Cougars.
Armorel 50, Weiner 38
The Armorel Junior Tigers opened conference play with an impressive, 50-38, win over Weiner Friday night.
The Tigers led 18-9 after the first period, 28-20 at halftime and 39-25 heading into the fourth period.
Armorel's Sam Spurlin knocked down five three-pointers on his way to a game-high 17 points on the night. Seth Wyatt added 14 in the Tigers' win.
J.T. Schwarz led Weiner with 22.