WHITE HALL — White Hall threw everything it had at Watson Chapel on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats absorbed every blow and showed why they are the team to beat in the 5A-South Conference.
Senior Tevin Brown hit a layup in the closing seconds of regulation and then scored eight points in overtime to lead Chapel to a 67-59 win at White Hall High School.
“We finally played how we should have played for four quarters,” said Wildcats head coach Matt Busch of overtime. “We did the things we hadn’t been doing the first four quarters.”
Chapel almost didn’t have a chance to correct its issue in the extra period.
After Brown, who scored 16 in the contest, hit his shot with about 9 seconds remaining, White Hall’s Tyler Pirson had a runner at the buzzer clank off the back of the rim and send the teams to overtime tied 49-49.
“At that moment I thought we were still OK,” said Bulldogs head coach Marc Stringer.
It didn’t take long, though, for Chapel (14-3 6-0 in 5A-South) to wake up once overtime began.
A steal and layup by C.J. Robinson, who had 15 on the night, gave Chapel the lead before Kirk Baugh hit a short jumper to knot the score at 51-all.
Chapel reeled off the next six points on a pair of free throws and layup by Brown and a layup by Ben Marcus.
The Bulldogs (5-11, 2-4) answered with a layup by Pirson to cut the lead to four, but they would get no closer as the Wildcats sealed the win from the foul line.
“I’m proud, but not really happy about how we played,” Busch said. “It’s hard for a coach to sit here and watch that.
“Our guys fight. They may not be perfect, but they fight.”
Early on, it was White Hall throwing the jabs.
The Bulldogs led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter before Marcus got going in the second quarter. The senior, who finished with 15 points, scored eight points in the period as Chapel took a 23-18 halftime lead.
“They like to take about a minute off the clock every time they get it,” Busch said. “They try to kind of lull you to sleep. …
“We didn’t guard the ball well. They hit us first. But it’s good for us to have a game like this.”
White Hall stayed close despite having its top two scorers Pirson and J’Breun Steen shut out in the first half.
Picking up the slack were post players Chandler Ferrell and Baugh, who finished with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
“Our game plan was to penetrate and kick to them in the short corner,” Stringer said. “We wanted to make their bigs have to make a decision. …
“I thought they did a great job.”
In the middle of a battle for a playoff spot, Stringer thinks the key for his team will be building off the good things they did against Chapel.
“We have to try and keep our heads high,” he said. “But we also have to put this game behind us, because that game really hurt. …
“I hope we can build off of this, and I think we will.”