By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Berea Community and Madison Southern split a doubleheader Friday at Berea Community School.
The Lady Pirates won a nailbiter in overtime, 62-61, over the Lady Eagles, while the Eagles pulled away late to down the Pirates, 73-55, in the boys game.
There was enough action and drama in the overtime period to stir the standing-room only crowd into a frenzy.
Berea trailed 61-58 with 1:39 to go in overtime when two free throws by Jordan Sandefur pulled the Lady Pirates to within one with 1:21 to go and set up some late-game heroics by eighth-grader Alex Horn.
With the Lady Eagles running down the clock, Horn stole the ball and was fouled near midcourt with a minute to go.
Horn missed both free throws but the Lady Pirates were able to force a tie up and get the ball back with 55 seconds left.
Sandefur missed two shots in the next 17 seconds, but both times, junior Miranda Montgomery pulled down the rebound, giving the Lady Pirates another shot at winning the game.
But on the ensuing throw-in, Sandefur was called for over-and-back giving the ball back to the Lady Eagles with 36 seconds to go.
Marley Lawson was fouled putting up a shot for the Lady Eagles with 23 seconds left, but missed both free throws giving Berea one more shot to pull it out.
The Lady Pirates worked the ball around before Sandefur found Horn in the lane.
Horn was fouled on the shot and calmly stepped to the line with 7.5 seconds left and drilled both free throws to give Berea the lead.
Southern turned the ball over near midcourt and did not get another shot off and the Lady Pirates escaped with the win.
“I just thought the kids never had the look of, ‘We’re down and that’s it.’ They just kept playing and I think they played with a lot of confidence,” Berea coach Jerry Bingham said. “On the last play we ran the same play to Alex Horn that we ran the other night against Sayre and she came open, she just didn’t finish. But I thought it was big for her to step up there at the end and hit those free throws.”
An obviously disappointed Southern coach Summer Simmons said too many mistakes on defense killed her team.
“Berea did exactly what they had to do to win. They looked really good,” Simmons said. “I’ve got some key players not making the best decisions on defense and fouling. I can take a hard-nose foul because they happen. But ticky-tack fouls just because you are being lazy and it’s easy to do gets us in trouble.”
The Lady Eagles played well early, jumping out to a 15-8 lead after the first quarter and extend that advantage to eight points at 18-10 on an Adriannah Willis three early in the second quarter.
But Berea refused to quit and slowly crept back into it before finally overtaking the Lady Eagles and taking a 30-29 lead on two free-throws by Sandefur and a basket by Victoria Sexton with just 10 seconds left in the half.
Willis then hit a three at the buzzer to put the Lady Eagles back on top by two at the half.
The third quarter was a see-saw affair with Berea eventually pulling out to a 45-41 lead at the end of the quarter on a Chase Fain three pointer.
Berea center Hannah Haycraft went down with an ankle injury midway through the third quarter which opened up the middle for Southern’s Briana Lanham, who went on a tear, scoring 12 points, the final two tying the game at 57-57, sending it into overtime.
Sandefur led all scorers with 22 points for the Lady Pirates. Haycraft had 12 before being injured and Victoria Sexton added 10. Chase Fain had eight points, Sizemore had four and Horn had six, including the game winners.
Lanham led Southern with 17 points, while Willis tallied 12, Kelly Freeman had 11, Rachel Ramey had 10, Hayden Westfall and Callie Cook had four each and Lawson had three.
Eagles top Berea, 73-55
The Eagles started out a little slow but turned up the defensive intensity in the third quarter to pull out to an eight-point lead.
After the Pirates crept back into it on the strength of some strong play on both ends by Andy Allen and Eli Woodie to cut the lead to five at 53-48 in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, Southern pulled away in the final five minutes for the big win.
“The whole first half we were non-chalant and flat. We weren’t read to play and this is Berea’s big game and they came out ready to play and took it to us,” Southern coach Shane Buttry said. “I didn’t get mad at the half. I just told them that we are a nice team and if we just pick up our intensity on defense it will take care of itself.
We came out with a little more defensive intensity and it got a little heated out there a time or two.”
The Pirates came out and took the fight to the Eagles early, jumping out to a 15-11 lead after one quarter.
Southern eventually caught up and the lead changed hands three times in the second quarter before Southern regained the lead for good at 33-31 at the half on a basket by Tanner Kidwell.
Tyler Abshear lead all scorers with 23 points for the Eagles. Damien Harris added 14, Drew Taylor had 10, MIke Rothermel had six, Jake Napier had four and Kidwell had three points.
Allen led three Pirates in double figures with 18, followed by Woodie with 15 and Dustin Cates with 11. Trey Terrell and Deondre Tate had four points each and Alexander Shyiem had two points.