Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch propelled the Newport Knights boys basketball team to their third consecutive victory of the 2017-18 season.
Newport senior Elliot Thompson knocked down two free throws with 12.1 seconds left in regulation, extending Newport’s lead to 42-39. With 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock, Newport senior Benjamin Golan made 1-of-2 free throws, sealing Newport’s 43-39 victory against the Eastlake Wolves in a Class 4A KingCo contest on the hardwood. Newport improved their overall record to 3-0 win the win. Eastlake dropped to 2-3 with the loss.
Knights’ head coach Rob Marlow wasn’t surprised two seniors came through at the free-throw line with the game on the line.
“It is fitting that No. 30 (Golan) and No. 3 (Thompson) are the ones that did that. We’re definitely a senior led team. Those guys have some experience and they showed their poise their at the end. It was a good grind out win for us,” Marlow said.
Marlow, who is in his third season leading the Knights basketball program, is thrilled his squad is undefeated at this early juncture of the 2017-18 season.
“Starting off 3-0 is an awesome start to the season. It is huge. It always feels good to be a winner,” Marlow said. “We’re taking it a game at a time. There is no gimmes in this league no matter who you are playing. For us, we have to come out every night ready to play. That is the most important thing.”
Golan was thrilled following the victory in front of raucous home crowd at Newport High School.
“We were able to finish strong. We knocked down our free throws. We’re feeling good right now. It was a great team win,” Golan said.
Eastlake head coach Steve Kramer was proud of his team’s defensive performance against Newport. Eastlake senior guard Jaxon Williams had a spectacular steal and lay-up with 16 seconds left in regulation, cutting Newport’s lead to 40-39. With five seconds left in regulation and the Wolves trailing 42-39, Eastlake sophomore guard Michael Phillips missed a three-pointer from the corner that would have tied the game.
“We’re playing great defense. Every game this year we’re holding teams to the high 30s or low 40s (points). We got a lot of young guys and our offense is a work in progress. We’ve got a deep bench and these guys are playing their hearts out. It is a long season. As long as we keep playing defense like that, we’ll be fine,” Kramer said.