Cross Creek assistant coach Kelvin Ruffin says Razorbacks' guard Jahmad Saleem plays best when he's attacking. For the second consecutive game, the senior employed an aggressive style and pulled his team through late.
Cross Creek beat Evans 53-52 on Friday on a Saleem free throw with 1.5 seconds left after his steal and drive.
The win was the Razorbacks' fifth in a row and further clogged the standings behind regular-season region champion Richmond Academy.
The Razorbacks beat the Musketeers on Tuesday in another game decided in the final minute.
"We prepare for games like this," said Ruffin, who was filling in for head coach Tracey Gamble. "It's not games that prepare us for this. It's the way we prepare the kids."
Cross Creek avenged January's one-point loss to the Knights, overcoming a 15-point, first-half deficit in the process.
With the game tied and 11.1 seconds remaining, Evans called timeout to draw up a play. Coach Kevin Kenny wanted to get the ball to guard Anthony Williams off a pick and roll. But the Knights were stifled and Saleem broke free with the ball and was fouled on his layup attempt.
His first free throw was good for the win.
Saleem finished with a game-high 13 points and teammate Santoine Butler added 10.
"As long as both of them are clicking, the team is fine," Ruffin said.
The loss was the third in four games for the Knights. Their past three games have been decided by a total of four points.
Kenny said he told his team to hold the ball for an open look during the final minute. When there was no opening, he called timeout to try to create one.
Evans forward Troy Griffith said the Knights had worked on their inbounds plays for more than an hour during a practice this week. But it broke down when faced with the Razorbacks' man-to-man pressure.
"I couldn't get the ball," Williams said. "It was (a) bad game."
Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165 ext. 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.