Neil Baker's 30-foot bomb at the buzzer gave Great Crossing a thrilling and improbable 55-54 victory over Louisville Collegiate on Saturday night, vaulting the Warhawks into the championship game of the Roy's Bar-B-Que/First Southern National Bank Classic boys' basketball tournament in Russellville.
Great Crossing (6-4) rallied from a xix-point deficit in the final 90 seconds of regulation before the wild finish.
Chez Moore's layup put the Titans on top by two points with four seconds remaining.
Without a timeout or any hesitation, K.J. Tucker flipped an in-bounds pass to Baker, who shuffled it ahead to Michael McKenzie.
McKenzie spun away from a defender and delivered a no-look bounce pass to Baker, who had enough time to catch and shoot from just inside the half court logo at Logan County High School. The shot swished through the net as time expired.
Baker scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half. McKenzie also finished with 19 for GC, which has won six of its past seven games and will face the host Cougars for the title at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.
Moore had game highs of 20 points and 13 rebound for Louisville Collegiate (8-2). Drew Manning added 12 points.
McKenzie and Baker went a combined 13-for-20 from and combined for five 3-pointers.
The Warhawks led 27-21 at halftime after holding the Titans to nine points in the second period. Louisville Collegiate turned the tables with a 22-12 third-period advantage.
Baker's shot represented the sixth lead change of the game, There were four ties.
It was the fifth GC game decided by six or fewer points this season. The Warhawks have won the past three of those, including two in this tournament.
Blue Star Invitational, Girls
Scott County 70, Spalding (Georgia) 68
Morgan DeFoor's career-high 32 points included the game-tying and go-ahead free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining, capping Scott County's comeback from a six-point deficit in the final three minutes for a 70-68 win over Spalding of Griffin, Georgia, at the Blue Star Invitational girls' basketball tournament in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
DeFoor, who has hit or exceeded 30 points in three of SC's past four games, also finished with seven steals, five assists and five rebounds.
“Morgan wanted the ball and wanted to take the shot for the chance to win,” SC coach Steve Helton said. “She got fouled and stepped up big.”
Malea Williams, playing on the wing as Scott County (7-4) went with a starting lineup that featured four players 5-foot-10 or taller, combined 20 points with 18 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots for the Lady Cards.
Tyra Young also hit one of two free throws with 2.6 ticks left to help SC seal the victory in a consolation bracket game.
“It wasn't a masterpiece, but it was a good win against a very good team,” Helton said. “We are searching for an identity 11 games into our dress rehearsal regular season. Tonight we showed some toughness down the stretch.”
Kierstyn Milmer led Spalding (10-3) with 19 points. Elicia Threatt added 17 and Nuriah Slaton 14 for the Lady Jaguars, who rallied from a 39-33 deficit to grab a 58-55 lead to end the third.
“We were out-athleted again but found a way,” Helton said. “We'll enjoy the moment and hopefully learn from the game experience.”
Sunday is an off day at the tournament. SC will practice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (where Cardinals' alumni Cooper Robb plays for the men's program) and enjoy some down time before the fifth-place game at 10 a.m. Monday against Butler of Matthews, North Carolina.
Ashland Invitational, Boys
Scott County 53, Butler 47
Leads and deficits have been fleeting situations throughout the opening stretch of the season for an up-up-and-down Scott County boys' basketball team, and Saturday afternoon was no exception.
SC saw Christian County erase its 15-point lead in a span of fewer than four minutes in the third quarter, then pull ahead briefly in the fourth quarter before Terrin Hamilton's six consecutive points rallied the Cardinals to a 53-47 win in the consolation bracket of the 65th Ashland Invitational Tournament.
Mikaleb Coffey and Chase Grisgby each added four points down the stretch for Scott County (5-5), which bounced back from a brutal loss to Boyd County in Friday's opening round.
“I'd never tell them this, but some teams need to lose a few to be able to win, and I'm starting to see that a little bit with this group,” SC coach Tim Glenn said.
Hamilton led SC with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Elias Richardson chipped in 14 points and seven boards. Grigsby added nine points and Coffey eight.
Da'Mikeon Mathis topped Christian County (3-7) with 12 points. Olajuwon White wound up with 11.
Scott County started out with a stifling half court defensive effort, allowing only four points in the opening period.
It was 30-17 at the half, and Hamilton's two free throws started the third period on the right foot before a 16-1 surge quickly pulled the Colonels even.
“There again we made four or five turnovers in a row, bad ones, and they took advantage,” Glenn said. “A couple of times it seemed like we threw the in-bounds pass right to them.”
Richardson and Coffey each had a go-ahead basket late in the third, the latter making it 37-35.
Mathis' 3-pointer chalked up the Colonels' lone lead of the day, but two put-backs by White were the only Christian County field goals thereafter.
“I told the guys if we cut off the middle and just made this team shoot over us, we'd be fine, and we got back to doing that at the end of the game,” Glenn said.
Glenn missed Friday's 69-57 loss due to flu-like symptoms that included a 102-degree fever.
“They looked like they didn't even want to be out there,” Glenn said. “I started to get after them a little bit (Saturday), but you can't really do that right when you're getting ready to out and play.
“Our losses to Woodford County and Great Crossing put a little bit of a stymie on us. Last year's team could go out and play their way through, but we're still learning how to do that.”
SC wraps up the tournament at 4 p.m. Sunday with the fifth-place game against Lawrence County.