For the second night in a row, the Tigers were pushed to the brink in the final seconds. But unlike Friday’s game versus Alexander, Douglas County was unable to avoid the agony of defeat.
Emotions were sizzling from start to finish and reached a boiling point in the waning seconds. Trailing 74-72 with 1:01 on the clock, Lithia Springs’ Bobby Brown connected on two clutch free throws to pull his squad even on the scoreboard. On the next possession, Douglas County guard Jalen Thornton drew a foul and hit one-of-two to put the Tigers up 75-74.
However, the final 10 seconds proved to be the difference with two lead changes, heated arguments and one group of fans storming the court while the others watched in disbelief.
The action began with Douglas County senior star Vantrail Commings scoring a layup and getting the foul. Commings successfully drained the shot from the line to put the Tigers up 78-77 with three seconds left in the game.
Lithia Springs head coach J.W. Cantrell immediately called a timeout to draw up a play and a prayer. His prayer was answered and the play was executed with a basket for the ages.
Having to go the length of the floor with just ticks on the clock, Femi Ojuolape sprinted away from the crowd, caught the lob pass and dropped a finger roll at the buzzer to clinch victory and knock off the previously unbeaten Tigers.
“I had a lot of adrenaline. It feels so good right now,” said Ojuolape. “I was nervous and thought I was going to miss it, but I got lucky and I’m so glad I made it. I’m glad we got the win.”
Following the game-winning hoop, an overjoyed Cantrell jumped in the air for joy, hugged his players, and then ran over to the stands to share a private moment with a kiss from his wife to celebrate the team’s signature win of the season.
“We drew it up for Bobby (Brown). Femi (Ojuolape) ran free and we threw it over the top and scored,” said Cantrell. “I’m so happy for these guys. They deserved this win and our crowd was amazing.”
While it was all smiles for Lithia Springs, shock, disappointment and despair vibrated through the locker room for Douglas County.
“Sometimes, this is what it takes. It takes a wakeup call,” said Douglas County head coach Joby Boydstone. “It’s one loss, but we’re still undefeated in the region, and that’s what counts. We just have to go back to work.”
Lithia Springs was led by Brown, who dropped a team-high 19 points. Jonathan Walker followed with 18 and Jaylen Ausby hit for 11.
The Lions will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Villa Rica. Douglas County will travel to Paulding County High School. Games will start at 7:30 p.m.