Jeremiah Hoskins’ 3-point attempt in the waning seconds clanked harmlessly off the back iron as the Spring Hill Panthers managed to escape with a 43-42 win over the Kilgore Bulldogs on Tuesday.
Casey Mudoh went up high to tip in a Luke Hurst miss with 2:03 left in regulation. Mudoh’s bucket gave Spring Hill a lead it would not relinquish, but it wasn’t without a little late-game hysteria.
A steal by Kilgore’s C.J. Ingram with 1:15 remaining kept fans on the edge of their seats. The Bulldogs eventually worked the ball inside to Hoskins only to have Tyrese Jones come up with a steal for the Panthers with 0:38 on the clock.
After Curtis Crowe misfired with 25 seconds left, Ingram was called for an offensive foul with 0:21.6 showing. The wild conclusion had a Spring Hill missed free throw and Kilgore holding for the last shot. That’s when Hoskins pull the trigger from beyond the arc.
It was a pretty exciting final two minutes of action without a single point recorded.
Spring Hill improves to 13-7 overall and 2-0 in District 16-4A play. Kilgore, meanwhile, drops to 3-9 overall and 0-2 in league competition.
“This one was a battle all the way,” said Panther coach Tim Ender. “I’m extremely proud of this group of guys. They’ve hung together and fought tooth and nail together.
“They really battle for each other and compete. I knew this game was gonna be close, because Kilgore has a good ball club. I just told the boys to keep battling and get a defensive stop and we were able to do that.”
Things didn’t start so great for the Panthers as Kilgore stormed out to a 9-0 lead in the opening half of the first quarter. Spring Hill failed to connect on its first five shots from the field.
Ingram, who finished with 12 points for the Bulldogs, converted a layup and followed a free throw to complete the old-school three-point play and give the vistitors a 9-0 advanatge at 4:26 of the first quarter.
The Panthers surged back in the second stanza as Mudoh powered in a layup and tacked on the free throw, while Markavion Williams did same with a steal score and subsequent charity shot.
Jones, who dropped 14 for Spring Hill, gave the hosts their first lead of the night with a trifecta with 61 seconds left before the break.
Johnny Clopton parlayed a steal into an easy layup as the Panthers stretched their new-found lead to 26-22. Hoskins, who finished the evening with 13 points, drained a 3 just ahead of the horn to trim the deficit at intermission to a single point.
Back-to-back deep corner bombs from Jones and Crowe to start the third pushed the Spring Hill lead to 32-25 less than two minutes deep into the second half. Crowe canned his third trifecta late in the period on his way to an 11-point performance.
A back-door cut by Ingram, followed by Hoskins powering in a bucket gave Kilgore a 42-41 advantage with 2:46 in the fourth. It was the Bulldogs’ first lead since late in the second quarter.
In the evening’s preliminary contest, Na’Kayla Hooper scored the final three points of overtime from the free throw line as Kilgore’s Lady Dogs held off a spirited performance from the Spring Hills Lady Panthers, capturing a 36-32 decision.
Miah Thomas’ 13 points and 12 rebounds led the way for a Kilgore conquest.
Spring Hill sophomore Zailey McGee turned in a 8-point, 10-rebound effort in the loss.
Kilgore led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter when Thomas buried a trey for a 13-3 advantage. Peyton Borens answered for the Lady Panthers with an extra-pointer of her own as the quarter ended.
Spring Hill only two baskets in the opening frame were threes from Borens and Ashlee Blake.
Thomas swished a baseline jumper as Kilgore moved out to a 17-6 lead early in the second. Madison Schreiber responded with a long-range missile of her own at 5:14.
When Alexis Anderson banked in a 3 at 5:18 of the fourth, Kilgore held a firm 28-23 lead. That slowly evaporated as McGee drained four straight from the charity stripe and J’Dee Stovall pitched in a couple more. Stovall’s two gave Spring Hill its first lead of the night with 2:01 left in regulation.