Sitting in the stands on Friday and watching his sons Luke Wiseman and Sam Wiseman play basketball for Arlington, Lang Wiseman, a point guard/wing player at the University of Tennessee from 1989-93, admitted that his hands would be sore Saturday morning.
“I’m a little excitable, you can tell,” said Wiseman, who was All-SEC his junior season. “It’s more fun to watch them play. It’s more frustrating to watch them play because you can’t do anything. I yell and try to send them a brain wave.”
The mental telepathy must have worked. Sam Wiseman, a sophomore point guard, scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, knocked down all of his free throws, took a game-changing charge and scored a 3-pointer, to rally the Tigers to a 45-42 district victory over arch-rival Bartlett in Arlington.
Erasing the Panthers’ 10-point third-quarter lead, the Tigers (15-11) moved into a first-place tie in District 14-AAA while winning their fifth straight.
Arlington had been there before. Against Bartlett on Jan. 13, the Tigers trailed by eight points with four minutes left before winning 66-65 in overtime.
“Friday the 13th,” said Bartlett head coach Dion Real, who made adjustments after that loss.
This time, the Panthers held Arlington leading scorer Garrett Golday to 11 points, 10 below his average.
“They did a good job of doubling down on him and packing it in where he couldn’t get easy shots,” said Arlington Head Coach Don Deaton.
“Toward the end of the game, in the fourth quarter, Sam Wiseman took over and made shots, four free throws, driving a layup. The biggest thing he did was take that charge down the stretch.”
At that point the game was tied at 38 after Golday scored with 2:16 left. The charge foul on Bartlett gave the Tigers the ball and Wiseman sank a trey with 1:32 left to give them a 41-38 lead, their first of the game, completing a 7-0 run.
Wiseman’s layup made it 43-40 and his two free throws expanded the lead to 45-40, the Tigers’ largest, with 10 seconds left. Jaylen Reed made it a three-point game with 4.7 seconds left.
“My team needed me to do what I had to do, knocking down those free throws. Coach let me shoot threes at the end instead of being able to drive. I stay calm on the court, try not to get too rattled, just play my game and I know that we will win,” said Wiseman.
Sweeping the regular season series, Deaton said, “In a rivalry game, you take the win. You can say what you want about it, the bottom line it is a rivalry game. No matter who is good, who is bad. You can throw all the records out and all that kind of stuff, it’s going to be a ball game every time.”
A former assistant coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin and head coach at Trumann, Ark., High School before becoming Bartlett head coach, Real called the game “real big.”
“The communities are so close,” he said. “These guys grow up together and have known each other for years.”
Bartlett (13-13, 4-3 in district) took big leads and sophomore guard Wynne Brown had a big game.
Brown, who played excellent defense and made impressive moves to the basket, scored a game-high 19 points. He helped guide the Panthers throughout the game. He scored two straight treys for a six-point lead before a trey by Reed expanded it to 11-2 with 3:38 left. All four of the Panthers’ 3-pointers came in the first quarter. Another one by Shemar Johnson put the Panthers up 14-6.
A 3-pointer by Ray Price got Arlington within a point, 16-15, with 5:24 left in the second. That followed an exceptional move to the basket by Bartlett’s Riley Hogel, a 6-7 senior forward, who gave the Panthers breathing room, 16-12, after two free throws by Golday.
Hogel is the Panthers’ leading rebounder, averaging 6.3 per game.
Bartlett then scored eight straight for a 24-15 lead behind Brown, who is a sophomore, a steal by Josh Exom that led to a basket by Jefferson Walker, who averages a team-high 15.6 points per game. Ryan Grigsby gave the Panthers a 28-19 lead two minutes before halftime.
A rebound and score by Kevin Kobas put Bartlett on top by 10, 35-25, midway through the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with Arlington trailing 35-27. Lang Wiseman’s advice to the team, “Show some energy. They are playing tentative.”
A rebound and score by Price pulled it to within 36-30. There was 4:45 left. Lang yelled, “All the way to the rim,” as he watched Luke Wiseman, a senior, dribble and do just that. Luke’s two brought Arlington to within 36-32.
Price then guarded Bartlett’s Marlon Sharp so closely that Sharp got a five-second call and the Tigers got the ball.
“To the rim,” Lang shouted. Price scored with 3:28 left and it was 36-34. With 3:11 left, Luke Wiseman fouled out.
“When Luke fouled out that motivated me to get this game going because he is not able to lead the team in the fourth quarter. I thought it was a big load on my shoulders to help the team win,” said Sam Wiseman.
Brown’s free throws put the Panthers ahead 38-34 and Sam’s free throws cut it to 38-36 with 2:58 left.
Earlier, Deaton had called a time out.
“We slowed it down. Coach told us to calm down and play our game, get some stops on defense and start scoring and that it would take care of itself and that we would come out with a win,” said Sam. “We wanted to keep calm, don’t worry about everybody in the crowd, focus on what is going on with our team and our game plan.”
The Tigers heeded Deaton’s advice as Golday’s free throws tied the game at 38 before Wiseman scored seven straight to put it away.
“It’s an ugly game but I’ll take a win,” said Lang Wiseman, a Memphis attorney.
Price scored a team-high 15 points. “Ray Price did a good job for us,” said Deaton. Luke Wiseman finished with 5, Brogan Brewer 3.
Arlington made 12 of 17 free throws, three 3-pointers, 12 two-pointers while Bartlett made 6 of 12 free throws, 12 twos and four treys.
Hogel scored 8 points, Reed 5, Johnson 3, Grigsby 2, Walker 3.
The Panthers run a 5-out motion offense that Real said is designed to get each player involved. “There is a lot of cutting.”
In his second season, Real said, “We have good kids. It is a pleasure to be around them. They work hard. They are solid in the classroom.”
The team is also young. Of the 16 players dressing out, 10 are sophomores.
The Panthers took away what Arlington normally does “very well” said Deaton.
“They made really good adjustments. They are very good defensively. They are quick, aggressive and pressure the ball.”
Greeted by well wishers after the game, Sam Wiseman said that he has been waiting to play varsity basketball with his brother Luke.
“I love it. Love it. The Wiseman brothers out there is something that I have been looking forward to for a couple of years to play with my brother his senior year.”
While Lang said that he does not give his sons advice about their games, Sam begs to differ.
“All the time,” said Sam. “He gives me pointers all the time. Every time I go home, he is going to tell me what I need to do to improve.”
Written by Bill Sorrell, special to the Express.