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Moses Parker, Fike High’s 6-foot-4 senior basketball standout, does not come across as especially vocal and displays a go-with-the-flow temperament.
As Parker likes to explain his personna: “I stay focused and aggressive, and the ball comes to me.”
The basketball certainly found Parker or vice versa the final four-plus minutes as the host Golden
Demons pulled out a 57-50 victory against archrival Beddingfield before a late-arriving but entertained crowd Friday night.
Parker tossed in nine of his game-high 22 points in the final four minutes, 13 seconds to boost Fike to its third win of the week and fourth overall against one loss.
“Moses just goes out and plays,” said smiling Fike head coach Brent Secrest. “Sometimes, he forgets about himself.”
Beddingfield of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference, in the first year of head coach Jeremy Howard’s second stint, dropped to 1-2.
Ironically, points with the clock stopped pretty much decided the frantic but reckless encounter marked by rushed shots, poor decisions and the propensity for the spectacular.
Parker’s bucket with 4:13 remaining sent Fike ahead for keeps at 47-46. Junior Khouri Carvey added a free throw nearly a minute later and two more foul tosses with 2:10 to go upped Fike’s lead to 50-46.
The Bruins ended a drought of more than three minutes with a pair of free throws from senior Nathan Coley, but Parker answered with a three-point play for a 53-48 Fike cushion with 1:18 showing. The Demons preserved the lead the final 40 seconds with four foul tosses combined from senior Mason Lee and Parker.
“I just stayed focused and played with my teammates,” Parker remarked with a shrug. “We just fought hard and came back.”
Added Secrest: “Beddingfield tried to get us into a panic, and we started falling for it. That’s what they want to do. But late, we did a better job of keeping our composure — especially when Mason got the ball.”
Lee, the point guard, wound up with eight points and eight assists. Carvey grabbed 10 rebounds and Parker nine. Sophomore Kyshon Atkinson netted 12 points.
Beddingfield was led by seniors Avery Huggins and Jatavious Highsmith with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Junior Kaleb Harris had nine.
The Bruins were plagued by a 6-for-15 showing at the foul line. Hitting just 1-of-8 attempts in the third quarter was crippling. The furious pace left Beddingfield flirting with being out of control on occasion. Fike battled the same malady.
“Credit goes to Fike for making plays when they needed them,” Howard said. “But we have to go to the line and knock down free throws. That gives us a much better opportunity to win the game. Early and late, we got out of our element a little bit.”
Beddingfield’s Coley opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, but Fike scrambled to a 15-11 margin on Lee’s basket. The Bruins found themselves in a catch-up mode, trailing 30-27 at halftime and whittling the deficit to a mere point on four occasions in the third quarter. Parker, Atkinson and sophomore Christen Battle keyed the Demons the first half.
Harris rallied Beddingfield in the third quarter. Field goals from the 6-5 Huggins resulted in a 40-40 tie and a 42-40 Bruins lead. Sophomore Jaqwavieious Edwards’ flying dunk off an Highsmith assist at the third-quarter buzzer resulted in a 42-40 Beddingfield edge.
The fourth-quarter drought, however, proved more than the Bruins could overcome.
Beddingfield is not timid about a furious pace but Howard explained that, on most occasions, he wanted his team to force the tempo before Fike could set up in a 2-3 zone defense that had been troubling the Bruins.
“We wanted to play under control, slow things down and run at our pace,” Highsmith reported. “Free throws and getting back on defense cost us. We’re pretty good, but we’ve got to come together.”
The archrivals will collide three times in a span of three weeks.
“Coming out of the week 3-0 is good for us because we’re a young team,” Secrest declared. “It’s a good win for us. Any time you beat a crosstown rival, it’s a big win.”
Huggins 16, Highsmith 13, Williams, Coley 8, Hutcherson, Harris 9, Edwards 4.
Battle 5, K. Atkinson 12, Lee 8, Jones 2, Waddell, Williams, Carvey 5, T. Atkinson 3, Batts, Parker 22.
Score by quarters: