Teams in this post:

Zavien Jackson seals Ironmen’s win over ACA

Blake Sanderson (20) dribbles down court against the Holt defense. (Photo by Erin Nelson )

TUSCALOOSA | Holt’s Zavien Jackson didn’t have to take the last shot in Tuesday’s game, but when he grabbed an offensive rebound he was only 3 feet from the basket.

Jackson scored to give the Ironmen their winning margin in a 63-60 victory at American Christian Academy. The Patriots managed to get the ball in the frontcourt but missed on a desperation 3-pointer as time expired.

Holt closed with seven unanswered points to improve to 6-3 overall, 1-0 in Class 3A, Area 7. ACA fell to 6-2 overall, 0-1 in the area.

"Believe it or not, these guys love to play on the road," coach Torrance Beard said. "They relish this environment. I thought in the first half ACA literally came out and punched them in the mouth. They kind of backed off, but in the second half they played as a team and just got after it."

ACA took a 58-56 lead on a 3-pointer by Collin Crowe with 1:40 left. After a Holt turnover, Carter McGill scored from the lane.

Holt answered with Dee Hughes’ drive to the basket. The Ironmen got the ball back after ACA committed an offensive foul, and Devin Crawford scored from the lane to tie it at 60. Hughes was fouled on a drive to the basket and made the second of two free throws to give the Ironmen a one-point lead with 9.1 seconds left.

"Dee Hughes is about 5-(foot-)7 with heels on," Beard said. "But he’s fearless. He does a good job for us. He attacks the basket. He just does everything I ask him to do as a sophomore."

ACA got the ball in the frontcourt and called timeout with 6.7 seconds left. Jackson tipped the inbounds pass, and teammate Marcell Kirkland came up with a steal. Kirkland missed a one-and-one free throw, but Jackson got the rebound and scored.

"When a guy rebounds as hard as he does, it’s hard for him not to go back up with that offensive rebound," Beard said. "I’d rather him do that than get on the free-throw line."

Crawford led the Ironmen with 13 points. Jackson had 12 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Hughes added 11 points. Jaylon Foster and Kirkland had 10 points each.

Crowe led all scorers with 25 points. McGill had 20. ACA’s John Mills finished with seven points.

"We kind of hang our hats on defense, and we had some breakdowns," ACA coach Greg Crowe said. "They did a good job of getting to the rim, and we let them. We usually draw charges. They kind of picked up the tempo of getting to the rim, and we didn’t go a good job of manning up and slowing them down.

"We had the lead with 18 seconds to go. Coach Beard does a great job with his team. They play tough. They play hard. He’s like me. He’s got a young team, too. Both of our leading scorers are sophomores. We just had some breakdowns down the stretch. Hopefully, as the year goes on we’ll fix them."

Holt plays at home Friday against Northside. ACA plays at home Friday against Carbon Hill.