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With the pre-game ceremony honoring the three seniors of the Williamstown Demons basketball team, the night started on a high note, but ended on a low one as they lost to Eminence 53-52 Feb. 10.
The Demons have struggled all season, but this game was particularly heartbreaking.
“I’ve never had a team that wouldn’t listen like that,” Williamstown coach Steve Sigmon said after the game. “It is what it is.”
The Demons had a 50-46 lead with just less than three minutes left in the game; Warriors freshman point guard Jalen Dixie shot a three-pointer while being fouled.
As the ball flew out of his hands, the gym fell silent as the shot swished into the net, sending Dixie to the foul line for a four-point play, which tied the game at 50.
Williamstown was able to score with under a minute to go, giving the Demons a 52-50 lead.
During a timeout, Sigmon told his players they had to foul an Eminence player after taking a dribble to knock some time off the clock.
His players didn’t listen.
“We just didn’t foul,” senior Derrick King said. “Coach told us that we need to pay attention more in the huddles and do what we are suppose to do.”
The Warriors were able to dribble down the floor and get a shot off behind the three-point line and was fouled on the shot as the buzzer ran.
With the changing events, the atmosphere went from cheers to jeers as the refs contemplated what time would be left on the clock (which later was determined to be 0.2 seconds) and the Warrior player shooting three free throws, with an opportunity to win the game for Eminence.
After each free throw shot went in and the score on the board went from 52-51 to 52-52, the crowd did everything in its power to distract the shooter, but it was to no avail as Eminence took a 53-52 lead and with not enough time to take a shot, the Demons lost for the 20th time this season.
For seniors Dean Faulkner, King and Kevin McCullough, it was a somber moment after the game.
“We didn’t really talk about anything after the game,” Faulkner said. “We just sat there in silence and were so upset. We couldn’t believe just what had happened.”
His mom, Kathy and the rest of his family greeted Faulkner, giving him comfort after a heartbreaking loss.
“It was special,” he said. “I have a great family and a lot of them there and told me that basketball isn’t life.”
The pre-game ceremony was extra special for Faulkner, sharing it with his mother.
“It was nice to see her get recognized with me,” he said. “She has gone through the same things as I have.”
Faulkner lost his dad when he was 7-years-old.
King has played on the team the longest and said he can’t believe that his senior year is here already.
“It was huge,” he said. “It was a good feeling. Just wish it hadn’t happened this quick. It just came by too quick.”
McCullough has played the last two seasons for the Demons and said he will miss playing basketball after this season.
On a better note, the Demons won their third game of the season Feb. 11 at Carroll County in double-overtime 51-48.
“It felt great,” McCullough said. “The win took a lot of stress off and everyone was happy. Their heads weren’t down afterwards like the Eminence game.”
Upcoming for the Demons is a match up with Henry County at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17. It will be Parent Recognition Night. Williamstown will conclude the regular season Feb. 18 at Augusta, before starting up the 32nd District Tournament Feb. 21-25 at Simon Kenton High School. The Demons will face the Pioneers at 8 p.m. in Independence.