Conway wasn’t going to be scared off by going to overtime Friday night against Carolina Forest.
The way the Tigers saw it, they’d already been pushed like that earlier in the year.
Just a few weeks after losing a four-overtime game to St. James, Conway defeated its Region VI-AAAA rival 73-70 in double overtime.
“We got to the second overtime, and they just said ‘alright,’ ” Conway coach Mike Hopkins said. “We’ve been in close games all year. We’ve been in four overtimes.
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“They kept in it, and they kept fighting.”
More importantly, the Tigers rebounded from a disappointing end to regulation in which they held a five-point lead with 11 seconds to play. The highlight for the Panthers came when Parker Helgersen drilled a 3-pointer from the elbow as time expired to send the game to the extra period.
Conway then returned the favor in the first overtime when Jalen Henigan tied the game with a pair of free throws with 5.1 second left. Helgersen’s second attempt at buzzer-beating drama missed the mark, and the game headed to a second overtime.
From there, the Tigers were simply playing a battle of attrition.
Jaquail Crosland hit the first basket of the second overtime with just a little over 1 minute left, and teammate Christian Jeffords hit one of his two shots from the free throw line.
Reggie Bonner, who led all scorers with 26 points, connected on both of his shots from the line moments later.
Jeffords (11 points), Crosland (14) and Kahmil Cooper (12) also finished in double figures for the Tigers.
Carolina Forest was led by Zavier Jones, who finished with 20 points.
The victory moved Conway to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in region play, while Carolina Forest dropped to 4-14 overall and 1-3 in the region.
• CONWAY (73) – Christian Jeffords 11, Jaquail Crosland 14, Jalen Hennigan 3, Malcolm Green 6, Kahmil Cooper 12, Reggie Bonner 26
• CAROLINA FOREST (70) – Ryan Yurachek 14, Zavier Jones 20, Will Brunson 5, Donovan Williams 3, Shakiel White 4, Chris Johnson 7, Parker Helgersen 12, Jawan Butler-Stevens 5
• Team fouls: Conway 19, Carolina Forest 28. Fouled out: Cooper, Yurachek, Butler-Stevens. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Conway (10-6, 2-1 Region VI-AAAA), Carolina Forest (4-14, 1-3)
Conway girls escape with victory
Conway saw a big second-half lead vanish, only to get a handful of points in the final minutes to beat Carolina Forest 54-50.
The Tigers led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter. However. Carolina Forest, led by a strong full-court press, scored 13 straight to end the period and held Conway to just four points between the midway points of the third and fourth quarters.
The Panthers led by one with 2:48 to go following Marisa Runyon’s 3-pointer. From there, however, Conway did what it needed to win the game, including several free throws down the stretch.
Briana Steele led the way with 21 points for Conway, and Janecia Hemingway had 13 rebounds. Steele also had four boards and a pair of steals.
Carolina Forest senior Ashleigh Turner led all scorers with 26 points.
The win boosted Conway to 5-11 overall. More importantly, the Tigers are now 2-1 in the five-team Region VI-AAAA. They will play South Florence and Sumter next week.
The Panthers fell to 5-13 and 2-2 in region play.
• CONWAY (54) – Briana Steele 21, Janecia Hemingway 4, Zakera Chadmon 8, Sierra Griffin 2, Lashonda Greene 10, Ashiera Williams 5, Raven Grant 2, Aliyah Alston 2
• CAROLINA FOREST (50) – Ashleigh Turner 26, Marisa Runyon 13, Cristina Wright 5, Alexis Tomlin 1, Cheyenne Pyles 3, Jalah Horton 2
• 3-point goals: Conway 5 (Steele 3, Chadmon, Williams), Carolina Forest 3 (Runyon 2, Pyles). Team fouls: Conway 22, Carolina Forest 19. Fouled out: Wright. Technical fouls: None.
• Records: Conway (5-11, 2-1 Region VI-AAAA), Carolina Forest (5-13, 2-2)