COMMERCE — In a game of streaks, Afton mounted the one that counted.
The Eagles used a 19-5 burst spanning the third and fourth quarters to claim a 39-37 victory over Commerce in a Lucky 7 Conference boys’ basketball game here Monday night.
Commerce had opened up a 10-point cushion (27-17) on a three-point play by Braden Smith with 2:54 left in the third quarter.
But Afton used a baseline drive by Brandon Jones to embark on that game-turning rally that left the Eagles with a 38-31 advantage with 1:44 to play.
Commerce made things interesting down the stretch as Ricky Carillo pumped in a pair of 3-point goals and the Eagles went 1-of-10 at the free throw line.
But the Tigers ran out of time.
“That’s been the synopsis of our year so far,” Commerce coach Tom Fenderson said. “We don’t know now to play with a lead. I don’t know if we get nonchalant or careless. We don’t respond very well to adversity.”
“We are young and are still learning the game,” Fenderson said.
The teams played like they hadn’t been in action since Dec. 18.
Afton led only 3-2 after the first quarter and there were a combined 29 missed free throws.
The Eagles went 10 of 29, including 6 of 16 in the fourth quarter, while Commerce connected on only 8 of 19 (3 of 8 in the fourth).
“We’ve got to learn how to hit free throws when we are ahead to put it away,” Afton coach David Markes said. “But we stayed with it. They had us down but we got a little more aggressive and got some steals.”
Jones scored 16 points to lead Afton’s scoring. Braden Fuser and Matt Wisdom added nine each.
Carillo and Luis Arizpe had 10 points each for the Tigers.
Commerce hosts Welch in Lucky 7 Conference play while Afton entertains White Oak.
Afton 3 12 10 14 — 39
Commerce 2 12 13 10 — 37
Afton — Jones 16, Fuser 9, Wisdom 9, Markes 2, Victor 2, Henry 1.
Commerce — Arizpe 10, Carillo 10, Kasey 7, Smith 3, Kyler Ng 3, Bowling 2, Witten 2.
3-point goals – Afton, Jones 1; Commerce, Kyler Ng 1, Arizpe 1, Carillo 1.