County rivals Winona and Montgomery County met at the Hornets' gym Saturday, and the boys and girls both went right down to the wire.
Montgomery County won the boys game 53-49 and Winona the girls game 37-35 on a buzzer beater.
This is the third time this season that Montgomery County boys defeated Winona, but by far the closest.
Back in November, the Hornets outscored the Tigers 24-12 in the fourth quarter for a 71-59 victory. At the Winona tournament in December, the Hornets won 61-41.
This time, the outcome was not decided until Decoreyon Small made two free throws with 10 seconds left to give the Montgomery County a four-point lead.
Hornets' coach Frank Miller felt a long layoff due to winter weather postponements affected his team. “We haven't played a bunch. Our last game was December 22.”
But he was quick to praise the Tigers' effort. “Give Winona credit, they played an excellent game,” he said. “They came out swinging and we didn't respond well. We hung on for dear life. We were fortunate to win.”
Winona coach Presley Coleman said “The kids played as hard as they could and we probably executed as well as we have all year. I couldn't be prouder of them. We played our best game of the year.”
Two players did almost all the damage for Montgomery County. Deterrious Williams had his best game with 23 points and Small scored 20.
In a game played the night before, Winona dropped a 78-35 decision to Eupora. Sean Merritt scored 17 points to lead Winona.
In the girls game, Winona led 35-24 entering the fourth quarter. Montgomery County then scored 11 straight points, tying the score when Tatyana Kenney banked in a three-point shot with 20 seconds left.
After the ball was knocked out of bounds, Winona had it under its own basket with 4.8 seconds left. “We set up cross screen,” Winona coach Veronica Helms said.
The ball again was knocked out of bounds and during a time out, Helms set up a play for Natori Weathersby that worked perfectly. Tommesha Brown inbounded the ball to Weathersby, who connected on a short jumper for the victory.
“Any time we play them, we want to win because its a rivalry game,” Helms said. “We played well. We just had trouble scoring in the fourth quarter.”
Montgomery County coach Jeremy Robinson felt the long layoff affected his team, especially early in the game when the Lady Hornets fell behind.
This was the third time the teams met this season and the results show how evenly matched they are. In fact, both teams have scored exactly 110 points in the three games, with Winona holding a 2-1 edge in the win column. The Lady Tigers took a 32-8 halftime lead in the first meeting and held on for a 46-44 victory. The Lady Hornets outscored Winona 12-7 in the fourth quarter for a 31-27 win in the game that decided the championship of the Winona tournament.
In another game played last week Winona beat Eupora 43-33. MyCala Helms scored 15 points for the Lady Tigers, Brown had 13 and Tyra Weathersby 10 The Winona were set to play Calhoun City Tuesday, host Eupora Friday visit East Webster Saturday.