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Buzzer-beater Lifts Lions Past Centerville, 72-71

A game-winning shot at the buzzer propelled the Lovelady Lions to a 72-71 victory over Centerville and clinched the second place seed in District 20-2A Friday night.

The first round matchup with Centerville was a thrilling overtime finish (76-67), but it didn't come close to equaling Friday's battle.
Leading 19-15 after a quarter and stretching it to 11 at halftime (44-33), the Lions started the third quarter with a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 18 points.

Just when it looked like the game was going to get out of hand, the Tigers came storming back with a 16-0 run of their own.

That's when everyone knew they were about to witness a "barn burner."

Lovelady carried a four-point cushion into the fourth (59-55), only to see Centerville take the lead.

The game went back and forth from that point. With about a minute left, Lovelady had a 70-67 lead, but Centerville made back-to-back shots to take the lead with :18 remaining.

Then with :05 on the clock, it appeared that Centerville and Lovelady had tied up a loose ball, but the officials said no, and gave Centerville a time-out.

Centerville inbounded the ball on Lovelady's baseline. Kade White was able to deflect the inbounds pass off a Centerville player and the ball went back out of bounds with :04 left.

The Lions set up the inbounds play and got the pass they wanted to Courtell McQuirter. McQuirter lost the ball, but it bounced across the lane to Petey Little who threw up a prayer that sailed over the rim into the hands of Hunter Murray, who immediately shot and scored.

The horn sounded with the ball in flight and the Lions win round two on a buzzer-beater.

Murray, who canned the game-winner, paced the Lions with 29 points and seven treys.

Hunter Patton scored 8, while McQuirter, White (1 trey), and Taylor Womack (1 trey) had 6 apiece. Alex McKnight, Mason Lowery (1 trey) and Jacob Jeffus each tallied 4, and Little had 3.

This was the final home game for senior Lions Mason Mason Lowery, Jacob Jeffus, Kade White, Courtell McQuirter and Cole Cimrhanzl.

"It was a special night for our seniors. I can't imagine a better way to finish your last home game," said Lions Head Coach Jon Lowery.

The Lions (7-2) finished district at Grapeland (9-0) on Tuesday. Going into the finale, Slocum sits in third at 5-4, Centerville 4-5, Latexo 2-7 and Groveton 0-9.