LITHIA — Facing a five-point deficit with just more than a minute left Wednesday, it seemed as if Plant City's comeback at Newsome was over.
But after Brown Peterson's 3-pointer with 46 seconds left, the pressing Raiders forced a turnover. Then Nick Bryce hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. And Chris Smith, who scored a team-high 21 despite battling foul trouble, hit a free throw with 10 seconds left to seal a 58-56 victory.
"I thought our guys hung in there. They had some poise," coach Dale Chambers said. "We were just fortunate to capitalize on their mistake. Then we came down and got an open look."
Newsome coach John Mackey said he was disappointed with the turnover as well as some of his team's decisions late, particularly shot selection. But he wasn't necessarily surprised given how many of the Wolves were playing down the stretch of a tight game for the first time this season.
"They're going to make mistakes, but you can't make those mistakes when you have a two-point lead," Mackey said. "You've got to live with that, and you've got to move on."
Senior guard Trent Mackey, the coach's son, led Newsome (1-3) with 18 points. He scored eight in the first half then started a 12-2 fourth-quarter run with a 3-pointer and finished it with a fastbreak layup.
But the sharpshooters for Plant City (2-0) were the key. Bryce finished with 19 points and Peterson 16 as the guards combined for nine 3-pointers and created open looks for Smith.
"I hope people really get out on them because that's going to free up Chris down low," Chambers said. "I thought they were huge."