With his team ahead by 10 points with 40 seconds left, Southeast Whitfield boys coach Jake Dickey wanted his seniors remembered in their last regular-season home game. So he sent in substitutes and let the fans show appreciation.
As it turned out, it wasn’t their final appearance in the game.
Coahulla Creek cut that lead to just a bucket, but Levi Wilson’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer rattled around the rim and fell out, giving the Raiders a 57-55 non-region win at home on Saturday. In the girls’ contest, the Lady Raiders pulled away after the half and cruised to a 54-38 win.
“We were up 10, and then the next thing you know we’re only up a couple, and it was like, ‘Get back in there’ (to the seniors),” Dickey said. “And man, that shot at the end was close ... a little too close.”
Southeast (4-20) led 57-47 when Coahulla Creek’s Blaine Williams scored a layup, Cordarius Tarver converted one of two free throws and a basket off of a turnover and Taylor Poteet sank a 3-pointer with 9.5 seconds left. Dickey then put his fourth-year players back in for the final seconds. After Southeast’s Gavin Hill missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 trip to the foul line with 4.5 seconds left, coach Matthew Queener called a timeout for the Colts (2-19).
“There were no words of wisdom from me, just telling them to not make any mental mistakes,” Queener said.
Taking the inbounds pass, Will-iams found Wilson after crossing the half-court line to set up the final shot.
“Of course you would like to see it fall,” he said. “(Dickey) was trying to get his younger guys in there at the end. We were lucky enough to get back in it and have a chance there at the end.”
The Colts scored the first eight points of the game and led 12-1 off the hot shooting of Poteet, Williams and junior guard Michael Ward. The Raiders countered with a 10-3 run and trailed 15-11 at the end of the opening quarter. Five lead changes in the second period ended with the Raiders holding a 25-22 halftime lead.
Southeast’s edge built to nine points with 2:53 left in the third, thanks to senior guard Devin Gentry’s 3-point play and consecutive baskets from center Chaz Payne. Poteet then dropped in another of his five 3-pointers, sparking a 10-4 Colts run as they ended the third quarter trailing 42-39. However, Southeast was able to keep Coahulla Creek at bay until the final minute.
“I was proud of our seniors to come in here and finish out with a win,” Dickey added “That’s the way it’s supposed to be done. Obviously, you don’t want that to happen at the end, but a win is a win.”
Bryce Middlebrooks led Southeast with 14 points, while Gentry and Payne chipped in 12 and 10, respectively.
Poteet led all scorers with 15, and Ward and Tarver had 12 apiece.
• Southeast girls 54, Coahulla Creek 38: Megan Collins’ 18 points and seven rebounds paced the Lady Raiders to an easy win.
Leading 25-20 just minutes into the second half, Southeast (16-10) scored 15 straight points to extend its lead to 40-20. The Lady Colts (6-17) never closed the gap beyond 14 points the rest of the way.
Lady Raiders coach Mike Durham said once his team’s defense gets going, the offense usually follows.
“That’s when it all starts for us,” he said. “The shots will come and go, but when we start playing better on the defensive end, it gets them a little excited, we get our on the break a little bit more and it opens up the offense a little bit more. They’re fun to watch when they play like that.”
Southeast’s Cricket Wyatt added 10 points, while Macey Fossett led Coahulla Creek with 10 points.
• Christian Heritage’s Sub-region 6A-A basketball games at Gordon Lee were postponed until Monday due to inclement weather. The Lady Lions will start at 6 p.m. with the boys following.
• Northwest Whitfield’s basketball games at Tennessee’s Bradley Central were canceled due to inclement weather.