Booneville, Miss. - Chase Carroll connected on just one of his five shot attempts for the Northeast Mississippi Community College on Thursday, but it was a make that shifted the momentum of a huge rivalry matchup.
Carroll drained a trey late in the contest to give the Tigers their first lead of the night against Itawamba community College. Northeast eventually completed its comeback to defeat the defending Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament champions 63-60 inside Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
The Madison Central High School product caught a pass from Jack Nichols in front of the Tigers' bench and was nothing-but-net from long range to put Northeast (10-5, 2-2) ahead 57-56 with 3:42 remaining in the game.
"I was just trying to go out there and help my team win," said Carroll. "I missed the first two and it was just like amnesia. I knew I had to hit it."
The Indians actually regained their advantage briefly after a Lakee Westbrook basket, but the Tigers' Desmin Harris was pivotal at the free throw line for the second consecutive contest.
Harris, who made three straight free throws with only two seconds left to send Northeast's matchup at Northwest Mississippi Community College into double overtime on Monday, was perfect on four straight tries from the charity stripe in the waning moments to put the Tigers up on the scoreboard for good.
Itawamba had a chance to tie the matchup at the buzzer, but a shot from behind the arc by Austin Timms rimmed out to secure Northeast's second win over the Indians in its home arena in the past three years.
"I thought our guys played really well together," said Tigers head coach Cord Wright. "We didn't have an offensive game where we necessarily won it, but we grinded and that's our deal. I'm excited to see where this team is going."
Dee Gates capped a 9-0 run early in the opening half by the visitors with a basket that gave Itawamba an 18-7 lead. The Indians increased their margin to as large as 30-15 following a Cody North free throw at the 4:55 mark.
Northeast scored the next nine points in a stretch of just over two minutes. Harris drilled back-to-back endeavors from beyond the arc while Dimario Jackson cut the Tigers' deficit to 30-24 with his first three-pointer of the evening.
Itawamba (5-10, 1-3) managed to carry a 36-26 advantage into the locker room, but Northeast's furious come-from-behind attempt started soon after the intermission.
The Tigers made it a one-possession game with 13:51 left in the second on a Dexter Stafford layup. Harris and Jackson also had key buckets for Northeast during a 9-0 spurt.
Neither squad led by more than three points for the remainder of the contest. Nichols knotted the matchup at 54-54 with a trey that sent the crowd of over 1,300 into a frenzy before Carroll's big shot pushed the Tigers in front.
Harris recorded a game-high 16 points to top Northeast and Jackson added 15. Nichols was solid with 12 points and six rebounds while Raheem Sorrell rounded out the Tigers' double figure scorers with 10.
"Coach (Wright) and I have been talking about shooting with confidence," Nichols said. "That's what I've been trying to do is find my shot out there because I knew we were going to need it. I felt like they were coming so I shot it."
Stafford was superb on the boards once again for Northeast. The Biggersville High School alumnus had 13 rebounds just three nights after grabbing 15 versus Northwest.
"He's a guy that gets it done every night," said Wright. "He's made some huge plays late in these games and I can't thank him enough and continue to praise him for how hard he plays."
University of Louisiana at Lafayette signee Tyrone Wooten paced the Indians with 12 points while Timms tallied 11 and Westbrook had 10. Itawamba was held to 21.1 percent from long distance and was outrebounded by the Tigers 41-37.
(W) Itawamba 97, Northeast 96 (F/OT)
The Lady Tigers were poised to capture a signature triumph over the Lady Indians during an overtime session that featured six lead changes and a pair of ties.
Jasmine Allen finished a beautifully executed inbounds play with a three-pointer from the far corner that was assisted by LaKeiya Lane to give Northeast a 96-94 advantage with only 4.5 seconds left on the clock.
But Itawamba was able to get the ball down the court and Jeronia Allen swished a contested trey as the horn sounded to ruin one of the Lady Tigers' best outings of the campaign.
"It was just a great college basketball game played here tonight," said Northeast headman Brian Alexander. "I'm very proud of these young ladies. They gave great effort and our execution was good."
The Lady Tigers compiled a season-high field goal percentage of 58.7 and had their second best total of the year with a 46.2 percent ledger from three-point range.
Northeast dished out 18 assists with Harper Newell and Lane contributing six apiece. The Lady Tigers' bench outscored the Lady Indians' reserves 40-14 and also registered 56 points in the paint.
Bridgejae Patterson guided Northeast's effort in the post with the inaugural double-double of her career. She was 8 of 10 from the floor for 16 points and had 12 rebounds as well.
"I've been trying to get there and I finally reached it," Patterson said. "I've been working hard on my rebounding and post moves. I've gotta keep doing what I did tonight even better."
Booneville's Allen had 20 points to head the Lady Tigers' offense while Lane notched 14 and Alivia Hughes contributed 13. Newell, who hails from Clinton, came close to a triple-double with 10 points and seven boards to go with her six dimes and three steals.
Jayla Chills directed Itawamba (13-2, 4-0) with 33 points and nine made baskets. Kaelin Kneeland also had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Indians.
Northeast used an early 8-0 run to leap ahead its guests. Allen's old-fashioned three-point play ended the surge by the Lady Tigers and put them up over Itawamba 15-11 with 13:07 remaining until the break.
Allen's took a pass from fellow Booneville native Dashiyah Agnew and hit the bottom of the net on a trey that gave Northeast (6-8, 1-3) its initial double-digit lead of the contest at 25-15 at the midway point of the first period.
The Lady Tigers extended their margin to 13 points following an offensive rebound and putback by V'lenchia Farmer and eventually held a 48-41 advantage over the Lady Indians at halftime.
Itawamba accounted for 15 of the final 19 points of regulation to send a tight matchup into an extra quarter. Patterson's layup put Northeast in front 86-84, but Alontra Tucker's runner with under 15 seconds left tied the game and the Lady Tigers could not get another shot off before time expired.