In his final game in the Great South Atlantic Conference, MC head basketball coach Randy Lambert and the Fighting Scots went up face-to-face with former assistant coach Kendall Wallace and the LaGrange Panthers.
There was a lot on the line.
Lambert was up for his 600th win, and the Scots needed this win for morale and to make a statement of redemption.
In the first meeting, the men fell to the Panthers by a heart-breaking three points. The basketball squad decided to come back swinging.
The first half was a constant fight up and down the court, with Maryville managing only an eight-point lead. After a very routine halftime speech from Lambert, the Scots could sense the synchronizing vibe that “everyone wanted to win,” according to senior, Milton Stanley.
Stanley’s opinion of Wallace might differ from those of some here at Maryville.
“I like him as a person,” Stanley said. “When he was here, he helped me out a lot. But, now, when we play each other, I hate him for 40 minutes.”
He went on to say that, during Wallace’s time at MC, both Lambert and Wallace were competitive.
The way he saw it was that Lambert was considered the “mentor” of the relationship, and Wallace learned everything from the well-respected man.
“Basically, [Lambert] did not want to lose to him twice,” said Stanley of Wallace.
Stanley didn’t want to lose again, either.
“It made me mad to lose to them,” Stanley. “But beating them at their place for the 600th win was huge. I wanted to give it my all.”
In that game, Stanley dropped a solid 21 points and earned five total rebounds.
So what was the difference between the two games?
“I would say that the defense played a lot better,” Stanley said. “We also knew the plays that they were going to run and worked hard in practice the entire week before. In the end, everything worked out.”
The game did not turn out the way he had thought they would.
“I knew if we played hard and played well, we would have a good chance of winning,” Stanley said. “I thought it would come down to the wire; but we got on a run and controlled most of the game.”
Fortunately, the Scots came out in the second half with a bang and held the Panthers scoreless for eight whole minutes in the final quarter of the game.
With Lambert’s pep-talk to the team before the game, the men “strung 40 minutes together,”and came out on top for the win.
Not only did this win redeem the Scots from their loss at home, but they earned Lambert’s 600th victory, and it was right there on Panther turf.
There could not be a better win than that.