• 45°

Free throw lifts Bobcats to area title

When Canaan Clay transferred to Phil Campbell with his dad, new Bobcat coach Shane Clay, he obviously had no idea he would play a pivotal role in helping his new school win an area title.

Clay, a freshman, played on the ninth grade team and the B-varsity team but began to earn quality minutes with the varsity team as the year progressed. Thursday night, those minutes paid off.

With the game tied and a few ticks left on the clock, Clay stepped to the free-throw line with two shots to put the Bobcats on top.

The first shot clanked off the rim.

The second shot went through the net to give the Bobcats a 54-53 lead over Colbert Heights and the Class 3A Area 14 title.

Phil Campbell led Colbert Heights 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and held onto that lead at halftime, 29-23. The Wildcats clawed their way back into the game in the third quarter and cut Phil Campbell’s lead to 42-37.

Colbert Heights continued to chip away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Phil Campbell 16-12 before Clay’s free throw won the game.

Luke Garrison led Phil Campbell with 15 points, nine coming in the second half. Ben Williams and Brett Saint score eight points each. Jonah Fisher added seven points. Nate Orrick and Blaine Goodson scored four points each. Clay scored three points.

Phil Campbell hosts Westminster Christian in the subregion Tuesday night at 7 p.m.