TIFTON — There were 28 seconds left in the boys game and Tiftarea Academy's boys clinging to a 47-44 lead when Ethan Mims strode to the free throw line.
With ice water in his veins to match the 25-degree weather outside, he drained them both.
Mims would miss a pair at 19 seconds and Georgia Christian hit a runner at 5, but by then it was over, Tiftarea's Panthers taking their fifth straight win, 51-46. The girls had another big 2nd half, but lost to the Lady Generals, 44-38.
Until Mims went to the line, the 4th quarter had been trouble. The Panthers had gone into it up 41-26 and had held as much as a 19-point lead in the 3rd.
But Jeremiah Beverly started the Generals off with four quick points to start the final period and Tiftarea fell into a rut. The Panthers were able to grab a couple of points here and there, but they were in between scoring surges of 7 and 5 that made it a 3 point game.
Sam Tucker's layup at 1:30 kicked it back to 5 and when Beverly missed a pair of charity shots they tried to take a breath, but a steal at mid-court and a basket cut it to 3 again.
Christopher Gravitt was fouled at the top of the key with 34 ticks left, resulting in a 1-and-1 opportunity. He would miss his shot, but the rebound went to the Panthers and Mims was fouled at 28 seconds.
Tiftarea had Georgia Christian doubled at the end of the 1st quarter, 12-6. The 2nd mostly went their way, too, but ended on a big momentum boost.
With the Panthers up by 11, General Cole Copeland drove as the clock wound down and made a shot with 3.6 seconds left, but was whistled for a charge. Tiftarea raced down the floor and Rob Flick hit a 3-pointer as the horn sounded, making it a 27-13 ballgame at intermission.