CHULA — The exhaustion was visible on the faces of the Tiftarea Academy Panthers Monday night. After giving all they had in a 4th quarter comeback against the Crisp Academy Wildcats, there was just no more to give.
The Panthers, who trailed by 15 heading into the last stanza, pulled to within a point, 34-33, when Josh Hancock made both ends of a one-and-one at 2:06.
But Crisp hit a free shot of their own, then two more, then another two to get the lead back up to six as Tiftarea could not get any shots to fall. Rob Flick was fouled on a three-point attempt, but only had one foul shot fall. Down three after Crisp missed two from the line, Flick had another three bounce off the rim as time expired, giving the 'Cats a 39-36 win.
The Lady Panthers fell earlier in the evening, 55-23.
Flick had been the one who started the rally. He led off the 4th with three straight buckets from behind the arc, turning a 31-16 game into a six-point one. Crisp made several turnovers on their own end and missed a few from the line.
For the normally fasted-paced Panther offense, this game was slow in developing. Both teams struggled to maintain possession and a Sam Tucker put-back off his own missed free throw would be their only points in the 1st. They trailed, 8-2, going into the 2nd.
The teams combined for 13 points in the 2nd and Crisp had a 13-10 lead at halftime.
Flick, who had 11 in the 4th quarter alone, finished with 15 points. Gravitt had 6. Banks Folsom had 9 for Crisp.
The Tiftarea girls, who have been plagued by slow starts recently, came out strong against a tall Lady Wildcat team.
Crisp held a narrow 8-7 advantage after one period, but started working the height to their benefit.