HAMILTON -- Harris County head coach Tay Sorrell knows that a lot of people outside his program never would have expected it to be seconds away from advancing to the second round of the boys state playoffs. In their eyes, the Tigers were playing with house money in Wednesday’s Class AAAAA first round.
When the buzzer sounded in overtime, however, and Harris County had fallen two points short of visiting Jones County, 75-73, there was still a measure of disappointment.
His team had put itself in a position to win on numerous occasions, including a possession in a tie game with five seconds left in regulation, but just couldn’t get over the hump for the victory. The heave from three-quarters court in overtime wasn’t close enough to stop the breath of those in attendance, although the game itself was an affair frantic enough to wear everyone out.
While there are certainly moments that would draw second guesses -- like the turnover on the inbound pass in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter -- by and large, the Tigers expended every bit of energy they had against a talented team, particularly from the perimeter.
Jones County guard Devin Wooten knocked down five 3-pointers in the first half alone, none of which even touched the rim. He finished the game with 29 points, 11 more than the next highest scorer on either team.
“When you’ve got a guy that is going like that,” Sorrell said of Wooten, “you’ve just got to get a hand in his face.”
Even with his hot shooting, neither team gained much of an advantage in the first half. Harris County led by as many as four in the first quarter at 10-6, but for every action, there was an equal and opposite reaction by the other.
Jones County tipped a ball in at the buzzer in the second quarter to head to the break with a 34-32 lead and parlayed that into a hot start in the third quarter to give itself a 49-41 lead with just under two minutes to go. In the final 1:45 of the quarter, however, Harris County went on a 9-0 run of its own to close the third ahead 50-49.
The fourth quarter deficit never reached more than four, the latest of which was a 67-63 lead for the Tigers. Jones County knocked down back-to-back field goals to tie the game with under a minute left. Harris County had an inbounds play from its own side of halfcourt with five seconds remain, but turned the ball over to force overtime.
In overtime, the Greyhounds built up a six-point lead before Harris County could get on the board. The Tigers battled back and gave themselves one final heave with time expiring, but the shot went wide.
D.J. Johnson led the Tigers with 17 points, followed by Toriq Holloway’s 14. Landrevius Bowden added 18 to Wooten’s game-high 29.