“But you can’t assume anything in this district. Castleberry has improved year after year, they have a great coach (Bart Beasley) and they took it to us. They wanted it more than we did.”
The win seals a playoff berth for the Lions.
The Rams had several chances to put the game away in the fourth quarter. Castleberry had taken a 67-61 lead before senior guard Reece Tarver nailed a three-pointer and Rascellis Williams followed with a short jumper to cut the lead to 67-66 with 3:15 left in regulation.
A steal by Williams led to a layup and a one-point Rams’ lead, but two missed shots and a turnover the next two minutes produced no points.
Castleberry senior guard Eric Hays took advantage and scored on a layup down the left side to give the Lions a 69-68 lead with 17 seconds left to play.
The Rams had a chance to win the contest when senior guard Dexter Cross drove the lane and narrowly missed a game-winning layup. But Cross was fouled on the play and was awarded two free throws with one tick left on the clock. Cross missed the first free throw attempt but hit the crucial second charity shot to send the game into overtime.
Rams post Broderick Johnson began the overtime period with a turn-around jumper from the lane that gave MWHS a 71-69 lead.
Johnson had a “monster game,” recording a double double. He finished with 16 points and a season-high 17 rebounds, including 10 offensive rebounds.
The Rams extended their overtime lead to 74-71 when Biren Clardy hit one of two at the free throw line. However, Clardy and Williams would both have chances with one-and-one’s at the charity stripe, but the basketball gods were not smiling on the Rams as both chances rimmed out.