Fans were treated to a pair of nail-biters on Thursday night at West Middle School, as both the boys and girls basketball games against North needed every second on the clock to determine a winner.
In the boys matchup, a last-second free throw allowed West to even the contest and send the game into overtime. From there, the Bobcats controlled the extra period, holding on for a 46-42 win over North.
The girls game only needed regulation to decide a winner, but it was a fight to the very end. With the score even at 44, West held on to the ball, running down the clock. Just before the clock hit zero, Bailey Trussell fired a 3-pointer from the top left corner of the arc, sinking it and allowing the Lady Bobcats to seal the 47-44 victory.
Before Trussell played hero for the West girls, the Lady Bobcats found themselves in a tight battle in the first half, leading 20-17 at halftime. West was able to widen that gap in the third quarter, behind a strong effort from Olivia Swain, who put up 13 points in the period for the Lady Bobcats.
Morgan Carr added the final basket for West in the third quarter, and the Lady Bobcats led 35-29 heading into the final period of play.
That advantage quickly disappeared for West, as North scored eight-straight points, taking a 37-35 advantage with 3:26 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, the Lady Bobcats regained control, as Swain knocked down three free throws and Nia Sheffield added a 3-pointer, giving West a 41-37 advantage with 1:36 remaining on the clock.
Lucy Nutt knocked down a pair of free throws, while Liv Bowen hit one of her own down the stretch for West. However, North continued to fight back, as Ashtyn Danley hit a late basket and then added the free throw, evening the score at 44 with 23.5 seconds left on the clock.
On the final possession of the game, West tried to work the ball inside down low to Swain, but the Lady Gators’ defense forced the ball outside. Off of a deflection, Trussell was able to gain possession. She fired off a shot with just over a second remaining on the clock, connecting on the game-winning 3-pointer from the top left corner of the arc, giving the Lady Bobcats the victory.
Swain led West in scoring on the night, putting up 22 points, including 16 points in the final two quarters. Nutt added seven points for the Lady Bobcats, while Bowen and Sheffield each finished with five points. Trussell finished with three points, while K.K. Sims added three points of her own, and Carr rounded out the scoring for West with two points.
After trailing the majority of the first half, West gained slight control of the contest in the third quarter, behind a 10-point effort in the period by DeAndre Jenkins. Evan Tomlin also added six points in the period, while Jaxon Sheffield added a free throw to give the Bobcats a 31-27 edge heading into the final period of play.
West continued to control the contest, even opening up a 37-30 advantage after Jenkins knocked down a jumper with 3:06 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, that’s when North began its rally. With 14.4 seconds left on the clock, Manny Scott was fouled on a play, hitting a basket and then adding the ensuing free throw, giving the Gators a 39-38 advantage.
A late technical foul was called on North with six seconds remaining, and West sent Grant Chadwick to the free throw line for a pair of shots. Chadwick connected on one of his two opportunities, evening the score at 39, which ultimately forced overtime.
Tomlin took control in overtime for West, putting up the first pair of baskets for the Bobcats, and giving his team a 43-40 advantage with 1:35 remaining in overtime. Ashton Dodd, Chadwick and Jenkins all hit a free throw in the final seconds for the Bobcats, helping their team hold on for the 46-42 victory.
Jenkins led West in scoring, putting up 15 points in the victory. Tomlin and Dodd also finished with double figures, with Tomlin netting 12 points and Dodd adding 11 points.
Sheffield and Xavier Ferrell each finished with three points, while Chadwick rounded out the scoring for the Bobcats with two points.
Both West teams were coming off loses in their matchups at White County on Monday. The Lady Bobcats fell 30-25, while the Bobcats dropped a 30-26 decision.
However, both teams did garner wins over Meridianville on Jan. 5. The Bobcats secured a 34-23 victory in their matchup, while the Lady Bobcats scored a dominating 58-36 win.
Both West teams will have a week off, before taking on East on Thursday at Tullahoma High School. Tipoff of the girls game is scheduled for 6 p.m. with the boys taking the floor 10 minutes after that contest concludes.