Daniel Peace nailed a free throw with 2.9 seconds left to force OT but Maurice Green drilled a 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining to help the Golden Eagles edge the Cardinals 58-54 for the region title at Woodland High School on Saturday evening.
Cameron Sutton scored 15 points and Deantre Mack added 12, including four 3-pointers, for the Cardinals, who had their 13-game winning streak snapped.
Trevin Joseph had 18 points, Isaiah Dennis added 16 and Desmond Ringer finished with 14 for Eagles Landing, which will carry a 14-game winning streak into next week’s state tournament.
After trying to pull even or take the lead for most of the game, Jonesboro finally did so when reserve John Walker capped a wild back-and-forth sequence with a 3-pointer from the corner for a 50-50 tie with 1:02 left.
On the Golden Eagles’ ensuing possession, Walker was instrumental once more, drawing a rare charging violation against Chris Davenport on a one-handed dunk with 40 seconds to go. But with a chance to take the final shot and exit in dramatic fashion, Sutton was called for a controversial five-second violation with 8.7 seconds left.
Then, the game became a free-throw shooting contest under an intense amount of pressure.
With 4.6 seconds remaining, Eric Wortham split two shots for a 51-50 Eagles Landing edge. Then before he could get the ball across half court, Peace was fouled with 2.9 seconds left. The senior point guard sank the front end of the 1-and-1 to tie things. But his second attempt rimmed out and the Golden Eagles secured the rebound and called timeout.
However, Wortham’s last-second heave from half court was well off the mark as time expired.
In the extra session, Walker’s jumper briefly put Jonesboro ahead but Wortham responded with a basket and Green netted a 3-pointer from the corner for a 56-53 Eagles Landing lead. After Patrick Petty drew a charge to keep the Cardinals within a possession of pulling even again, the Golden Eagles countered by fouling Peace to prevent a Cardinals’ 3-point attempt.
With 24 seconds to go, Peace hit the first shot but missed the second attempt. Joseph scored a breakaway layup to extend Eagles Landing’s lead to four and eventually seal things.
In the girls’ championship game, the Lady Cardinals overcame the ejection of their coach Lamar Harris and defeated Woodland-Henry 64-56.
Briana Benson had 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals to lead Jonesboro. Victoria Florence scored 15 points and Kim Dawkins added 10, nine boards and two blocks. Michaelle Smith finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Lindsey Reed led Woodland with 24 points and Care Bacon added 11.