A three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left in the fourth overtime ended the Southwest DeKalb Panthers season in a heartbreaking 73-72 loss to No. 8 Cedar Shoals on Saturday night in the Class 5A Final Four State Basketball Playoffs at Fort Valley State University’s HPE Arena.
The Panthers (19-13) hit four consecutive free throws in the fourth overtime, two by Eugene Brown to tie the game at 70-70 and then with 12 seconds left Michael Wright sank two more giving Southwest DeKalb a 72-70 lead.
Following a timeout, the Jaguars (28-3) got the ball up the court and with about 4 seconds left a shot came off the rim and into the hands of Brown before getting knocked away and saved into Cedar Shoals’ Tyler Johnson. Johnson managed to get a three-pointer in the air with 0.3 seconds to play and ended the Panthers’ season.
The loss was the sixth of the season by three points or less by a total of 13 points by the Panthers who started the season ranked in the Top 10.
Cedar Shoals had rallied from a 45-35 deficit early in the fourth quarter and pulled within 54-52 with 26 seconds left on an offensive put back by Jentarian Colbert. The Jaguars then had to foul the Panthers three times before the bonus took effect. All seven fouls for the Jaguars came in the fourth quarter after going the entire third period without a foul.
Southwest DeKalb’s Eugene Brown went to the line for the one-plus-one and missed the front end with 10.4 seconds left in regulation. Colbert drew a foul call on the other end and sank two free throws to knot the game at 54-54 with 3.7 seconds to play.
A long three by Southwest DeKalb was off the mark to send the game into the first overtime.
Two free throws and a layup by Kashik Brown had the Jaguars up 59-56 with 1:34 to play in the first overtime. Eugene Brown answered for the Panthers with a three to knot the game at 59-59 with 1:08 to play.
Cedar Shoals held the ball and Colbert got inside for a basket with 23 seconds to play to put the Jaguars up 61-59. A shot by the Panthers went out of bounds and Cedar Shoals got the ball back with 8 seconds to play and called timeout.
Jacorry Gist made the big play for Southwest DeKalb with a steal on the inbounds and passed to Eugene Brown for the layup to send the game into the second overtime tied at 61.
Trailing 63-61 with 34 seconds to play in the second overtime Jarrett Walton found Gist open for a short shot to knot the game and send it into the third overtime.
The Panthers missed four of five free throws in the third overtime, but still led 68-66 with 48.4 seconds to play on a free throw by Brown.
Colbert again drew a foul in the lane with 13.2 seconds left and knotted the game once again at 68-68. The Panthers got the ball up the court but a long three was short setting up the fourth overtime.
Eugene Brown finished his career with over 1,100 points hitting for a game tying high of 27 points to go with 9 rebounds. Gist added 20 for the Panthers and Jarrett Walton added 12. Mohamed Diallo grabbed 10 rebounds for the Panthers.
Quincy Canty had 27 points to lead Cedar Shoals and Tyler Johnson hit for 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Colbert chipped in 13 points for the game.