Digging yourself in a hole can be a tough thing to overcome for a basketball team, but the East Oktibbeha Titans proved to be up to the task Thursday.
Despite being down by double digits, the Titans never gave up in a 75-70 victory over Kosciusko in the Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump Tournament.
East Oktibbeha was down two points late in the fourth quarter when the Whippets missed two free throws that sealed the game. The Titans drove down the court and forced overtime on a put back by Chris Harris.
By scoring the first five points of the extra quarter, East Oktibbeha never lost the lead.
The Titans trailed 46-33 midway through the third quarter and trailed by eight going into the fourth. East Oktibbeha never quit and kept chipping away at the Kosciusko lead.
Coach Barnett Robinson of the Titans was glad of the never-give-up attitude his team showed on the court.
"I told them when we went into halftime, we were still in the ballgame," Robinson said. "We played a pretty bad first half. We missed some easy shots, we were getting loss on defensive assignments, missing free throws and I just told them to relax, have fun and play ball the way they are capable of playing and they did that."
East Oktibbeha ended the fourth quarter on a 15-7 run including Harris' put back. Harris finished the game with 26 points to lead all scorers.
"He played real well," Robinson said of Harris. "Chris is a real good player. (We) just have to stop and remind him to continue to play within himself and let the game come to him and not go to the game."
Devonte Lucious scored four of the first five Titan points in overtime and finished the game with 23 points. He was discouraged in the first half after missing a couple of shots, but Robinson brought back up his enthusiasm.
"I just have to stay on him and keep him encouraged," Robinson said. "In the first half, he kind of missed some easy shots right there and I just told him he has to continue to play."
Relax and play ball was Robinson's pre-game speech to his team who is not use to playing in a place like Humphrey Coliseum.
"I told them it's different, it's bigger and even the rims are a little bigger," Robinson said. "I told them to relax and just play ball."
The Whippets were led by Jamari Roby with 15 points and Daquan Forrest with 12 points.
East Oktibbeha will be back in action at Humphrey Coliseum today when they play New Hope at 3 p.m.
Carroll (La.) 64
Jackson Olin (Ala.) 56
Jackson Olin could not hang on to a six-point halftime lead and were outlasted by Carroll.
Olin led 31-25 at intermission, but Carroll came out and scored 18 points in the third quarter and limited the Mustangs to only seven points. The Bulldogs took a 43-38 lead into the last frame and never lost it.
The Mustangs pulled within two points at the 1:38 mark on a Kieston Standfield dunk, but that was as close as they would get. The Bulldogs regained a two-possession lead and iced the game with free throws.
Carroll was led by Josh Johnson with 28 points. The Bulldogs play Starkville today at 7:30 p.m. in the nightcap.
Standfield led the Mustangs with a game high 30 points. They play Columbus today at 4:30 p.m.
East High School (Tenn.) 80
East only led for less than a minute, but it came at the right time.
Aberdeen controlled most of the game, but the Mustangs would not go away. They took their first lead of the game when Mathew Butler connected on a 3-pointer with less than a minute to go in the game to give the Mustangs their first lead at 75-73. East made free throws down the stretch to ice it.
The Bulldogs opened up the game on 15-5 run. They ended the first quarter up 22-13. The Mustangs came out hot in the second quarter behind Butler. He scored their first 12 points of the quarter, all on 3's. That cut the lead to 29-22.
Aberdeen maintained its lead going into the intermission at 38-34 and held a 60-54 lead after three quarters of play.
East was led by Butler who scored 25 points and Nick King who scored 19 points. The Mustangs will be back in action today at 6 p.m. when they take on Strong High School (Ark.)
Aberdeen was led by Shedrick Fair who scored 25. Elliot Johnson added 15 and Brandon Hodges chipped in 14.