Overtime decides fate of four Elite 8 DeKalb teams

Four DeKalb County high school basketball teams—three public and one private—played in overtime games in the Elite 8 Feb. 25.

The Arabia Mountain Lady Rams were the last remaining girls’ team from DeKalb but bowed out 60-53 in a double overtime loss to Woodland in Stockbridge. The Southwest DeKalb Panthers boys’ team rallied from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to knock off Clarke Central 52-50 in overtime, St. Pius’ boys team beat Americus-Sumter 73-70 in double overtime and the Columbia Eagles boys’ team dropped a 73-72 overtime game to Dutchtown on the road on a buzzer beater.

Arabia Mountain (24-6) trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter before pulling within 12 (29-17) at the half with a late surge aided by a three-point play from Mikayla Jamison and a layup from Sydney Bunkley following a steal form Myori Pruitt.

Pruitt hit a pair of driving layups late in the third quarter to pull the Lady Rams within 32-26 with a quarter left to play.

Trailing 40-36 with 36 seconds to play, Arabia’s Jordyn Ward hit a three-pointer to close the gap to one. Woodland’s Rayevan Freeman hit one of two free throws with nine seconds left to make it a 41-39 game, before Arabia Mountain called a timeout with 4.8 seconds to play.

Following the timeout, Ward threw the ball to Ke’Andrea Middlebrooks who found a wide open Keyonna Giles under the basket for the tying layup as the clock expired.

Mya Beddis scored seven points to open the overtime to put Woodland up 48-45 with 2:17 to play.

Southwest DeKalb boys’ basketball team celebrates their Elite 8 win and their Final 4 berth. Photo by Gregory White.

Pruitt hit two more free throws—finishing a combined 10-10 from the line in fourth quarter and first overtime—to pull the Lady Rams within two. Following a turnover from Giles, Arabia Mountain got another fast break layup to knot the game at 49-49 with 1:25 to play.

A miss and rebound by Jamison led to Pruitt going to the line again with 1:13 left to play. She sank both shots to give Arabia Mountain its first lead of the game at 51-49.

  Moments later, the game was tied 53-53 with 1:12 to play on a layup by Ward assisted by Giles. Beddis answered and Woodland controlled the rest of the game, in part due to seven turnovers by the Lady Rams.

A basket by Woodland’s Sambresha Everett with 1:02 to play made it a 57-53 game in double-overtime, and Woodland hit three of six free throws in the final 35 seconds to seal the win.

Southwest DeKalb was the only DeKalb County high school in action of Feb. 25 that that won, but the Panthers still won 52-50.

Jacorry Gist hit a free throw with just seconds remaining to give the Panthers a 52-48 advantage. Clarke Central (19-9) got the ball down the court and attempted a layup at the buzzer.

The Southwest DeKalb Panthers (19-12) found themselves down 42-31 after a turnover resulted in a basket for Clarke Central early in the fourth quarter. Southwest DeKalb followed that up with a 13-0 run that put the Panthers in front 44-42 with just over a minute to play.

Clarke Central tied the game at 44-44 and neither team could score in the final 58 seconds, which sent the game into overtime. Southwest DeKalb scored four quick points to go up 48-44 and were able to hold Clarke Central at a distance.

Southwest DeKalb’s win means the Panthers have reached the Final Four for the second consecutive season and fourth time in program history.

The Panthers will face the winner of Feb. 26 matchup between No. 3 Lithonia and No. 8 Cedar Shoals at 8 p.m. at Fort Valley State University Feb. 29.

Columbia fell to Dutchtown after Dutchtown’s Cam Bryant launched a running buzzer shot from 35 feet that went in and ended the game in overtime.

Dutchtown jumped out early in the first quarter going up 23-11 only to have the Columbia Eagles rally back to 36-33 at the half. The lead went back and forth in the third quarter before knotting up at 49-49 heading into the fourth quarter.

Columbia led late in the fourth before the home team tied the game at 64-64 and the two headed to overtime. The Eagles (18-12) were holding a 72-70 lead with just seconds remaining.

A missed free throw was rebounded by Dutchtown and with 0.7 seconds left on the clock, Bryant shot a three-pointer from about 35 feet out that went in and ended the Eagles’ season.

St. Pius won their matchup against Americus-Sumter 73-70 in double-overtime.

Trey Acklin made the game winning shot for the St. Pius on an and-one layup. Acklin finished the night with 11 points, and Brooks Kahlert added 14.

St. Pius will be in action in the Final Four Feb. 28 and Southwest DeKalb will be in action Feb. 29. Both teams will play at Fort Valley State University. Boys’ teams from Tucker and Lithonia will be in action in the Elite 8 Feb. 25, and the boys’ and girls’ teams from Greenforest McCalep will play their Elite 8 games Feb. 26.

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