SPRINGFIELD, Ga. - Cross Creek's boys built a 22-point first-half lead, then watched it evaporate, only to rally in overtime and defeat Tattnall County 87-80 late Saturday night in the opening round of the Class AAA state basketball tournament.
It was the first basketball victory at the state level in the three-year history of the school.
Cross Creek (11-17) advanced to play Mitchell-Baker at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Augusta State.
Cross Creek made 7-of-8 free throws in overtime to pull away from Tattnall, as DeJuan Parker had four of his team-high 21 points.
The winners led 44-22 in the final minutes of the first half before the Battle Creek Warriors fought back to close within 44-28 at halftime.
The Warriors (16-13) really displayed their nickname in the second half. They trailed by 17 with 6:41 left and 15 with less than five minutes to play.
Tattnall went on a 13-0 run to close within 66-64 with 2:58 left. It went ahead 69-68 with 1:52 left on Jason Jinks follow-up basket.
Tattnall had a chance to win with 3.3 seconds left in regulation, but Craig Phillips missed two free-throw attempts. The Battle Creek Warriors missed 24 free throw attempts.
LIBERTY COUNTY 56 WASHINGTON COUNTY 32
Liberty County's Nicole Jernigan said getting off to a good start allows you to play calmly.
But calm isn't how the opponents feel when she's got the ball.
Jernigan scored 20 points, mostly by getting the ball up the court quickly for good shots, as the Panthers defeated Washington County 56-32 late Saturday in the opening round of the Class AAA girls state basketball playoffs.
Liberty (21-7) advanced to play Jackson at 4 p.m. Friday at Augusta State University.
Colleen Kitchens led the Hawks (16-10) with 10 points.
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