By Doug Gorman
David Key's basket with four seconds remaining in overtime gave the Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles (8-2) a 76-75 victory against Henry County (9-3) Tuesday night in the Chuck Miller Holiday Classic.
On a night that featured 14 second-half lead changes and five ties, Eagle's Landing took the lead for good just seconds after Dontavious Bega connected on a basket to give the Warhawks their last lead of the game.
It was a draining emotional win for the Golden Eagles.
"We really try to focus on the next play," Eagle's Landing coach Clay Crump said. "If you can keep that emotion in check and try to move on past mistakes and keep fighting, you feel you have a chance."
It's the second time this year, the two teams have played. Henry County won the first contest 65-58 in a game that counts toward the Region 4-AAA standings.
Tuesday night, Henry County appeared ready to take control of the game, building a 21-12 lead on Dray Soulder's late first-quarter basket.
Eagle's Landing stormed back with a 9-0 run, forcing the first tie of the game early in the second quarter.
By the end of the first half the Warhawks led 32-29.
Eagle's Landing fought its way back early in the third quarter and took its first lead of the game on a dunk by MVP Isaiah Dennis. Dennis, who finished with 23 points, scored six in a row at one stage for the Golden Eagles, but the two teams continued to swap the lead in the third quarter and by the end of the period, Henry County only led 50-49.
The Warhawks led 66-62 on Bega's basket with 30 seconds remaining in the game, but then the contest turned a little strange.
Double technicians on both teams in the final 20 seconds and a series of turnovers prevented Henry County from putting the game away.
Eagle's Landing's Aaron Horton hit five key free throws down the stretch, including the final two in regulation to help send the game into overtime after the Warhawks had grabbed a 67-65 lead on Bega's free throw.
Horton finished the game with 17 points. Bega finished the game with 16 points to lead the Warhawks. Thomas added 12 for Henry County.
Both teams are off until after the holidays, when they resume region action on Jan. 4. The Golden Eagles take on Stockbridge at home. Henry County plays at Drew.