Red Raiders hold off Rams in overtime

basketball_icon_greenBy David Wheeler

Special to the Journal

PONTOTOC – On the surface, Shannon Red Raiders head coach Cedric Brim was projecting himself as pretty calm Thursday, and his team had just enough of that poise as well.

The only thing Brim would admit to?

“We survived.”

In quarterfinal action at the Class 4A Boys North Tournament, the Raiders did survived an overtime contest with the Gentry Rams, holding on for a 67-64 victory.

“We kept our poise, even when Gentry had a lead,” Brim said. “We came back, kept playing, and found a way to win.”

The win by Shannon propels the Raiders into a 7:30 p.m. semifinal game today against the late game winner of Pontotoc-Leake Central. But advancing came hard for Shannon.

The ebb and flow of this matchup had Gentry leading by two after the first quarter, and Shannon by two at the half. The Rams threw a 12-0 run at the Raiders in the third quarter, but a field goal by freshman Rocquis Coleman and free throws by Alex Metcalf kept Shannon within 38-37 entering the fourth quarter.

Most teams In a playoff situation would have wilted hitting only 7 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter, but the Raiders survived that.

Shannon led by as much as 53-48 following a Brice Ford tip in, but Gentry took a 56-53 lead with 45 seconds left in regulation following free throws by Quintarres Boatman and Darrell Johnson.

Coleman then hit a layup in traffic with 36 seconds left, and added a free throw with 25 seconds left that eventually sent the contest into overtime.

There, Shannon paced itself to as much as a 67-62 lead on a pair of baskets by Sean Watkins and free throws by Xzavier Jones.

Coleman led Shannon with 27 points.

The other side of the 4A boys North bracket saw Corinth fall in three overtimes to Greenville 95-91, and Byhalia beat West Lauderdale 64-45.

The two winners play in the 6 p.m. game today.