Viera boys finish strong, hand Satellite its first loss

Viera High's Justin Weatherspoon (No. 2) goes up for two of his team-high 23 points Wednesday night as the Hawks used a big fourth-quarter to beat visiting Satellite 64-58. It was Satellite's first loss of the season.

The Viera Hawks put it all together Wednesday night.

Playing in front of a large, vocal crowd and against a visiting Satellite High boys basketball team that came in undefeated, the Hawks played excellent defense, hit some big shots and came through at the free throw line to overtake the Scorpions in the fourth quarter and come away with a 64-58 victory.

“We came out with energy,” junior guard Justin Weatherspoon said. “We came out hard. We knew going into this game we had to hit the ground running and that’s what we did.”

Weatherspoon led Viera (4-2) with 23 points Wednesday night. Senior guard Avery Keith finished with 18 points and scored nine straight to help turn a seven-point deficit near the end of the third quarter, into a lead the Hawks would never give up.

“We haven’t played a game this season where we’ve put everything together,” Viera coach Logan Keith said. “We’re missing rotations on defense. We haven’t played well all season offensively, in my mind.

“Tonight, we took care of the ball, got the ball where it needed to go and we were able to knock down some shots. The biggest difference for us was that this time last week, we wouldn’t have been able to finish the fourth quarter like we did. At this time last week, we would have thrown the ball all over the gym.

“The guys were dialed in and focused. The thing is, these kids don’t want to lose games. When they come to practice, they want to get better. They’re used to winning games. It just takes some games to get everything going.”

Satellite (7-1), which even brought its own cheerleaders, came into the game as the favorite thanks in large part to its outside shooting.

But playing the underdog role is something the Hawks are used to.

“Almost every game we go into, we’re the underdog,” Avery Keith said. “So, we know we have to come out and prove everyone wrong.”

Of course, that all started on the defensive end.

“We didn’t want them to get comfortable doing anything,” Logan Keith said. “They’re so well-coached and they have some really good players. (Oliver Pasque) had 16 points in the first half. Our plan was, obviously, to slow him down. I think we held him to nine points in the second (half) and zero in the fourth. That’s huge.”

As well as Viera was playing, the Hawks were staring at a 51-44 deficit in the closing moments of the third quarter until Avery Keith just beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to make it a four-point game and give the Hawks some momentum going into the final quarter.

Another Avery Keith 3-pointer from the corner made it 51-50. The Hawks would get the ball back and Dre Williams would try a long floater in the lane. The shot missed, but the ball got tipped out to Avery Keith, who drilled another 3-pointer and suddenly the Hawks were up 53-51.

A pair of Williams free throws made it a four-point Viera lead, but Satellite would answer with three straight points to make it a one-point game again.

This time, it was Weatherspoon coming up big for Viera, driving the length of the floor, into the lane, and putting one in off the glass.

Satellite tried driving into the lane, but Viera’s Nick Motty was there with a well-timed block and after a wild sequence in which both teams stole the ball from the other, it was Avery Keith who wound up with the ball and Viera called time with 1:14 to play.

The Hawks got the ball inside to Donovan Giles, who scored and was fouled. Giles would miss the free throw, but Satellite had trouble securing the rebound and the ball went out of bounds and back to Viera.

With the Scorpions forced to foul in the final minute, Viera’s A.J. Toney went to the line twice and hit four free throws to make it a nine-point game with 35 seconds left and it was clear this night would belong to the Hawks.

The winter break may be coming, but the Hawks will stay busy by taking part in two tournaments, beginning Saturday in Coral Springs at the prestigious Kruel Classic. The Hawks are scheduled to play at 10:45 against Pompano Beach in the tournament opener.