Unfortunately for the North Sand Mountain varsity boys basketball team, the third time was the charm for Fyffe.
The No. 1-ranked Red Devils edged No. 9 NSM 61-55 in overtime to win the Class 2A Area 15 Tournament championship Friday night at North Sand Mountain High School in Higdon.
It was Fyffe’s first win in three tries against the Bison this season.
The loss means NSM (19-7) travels to play Area 13 champion Collinsville (18-10) in a Class 2A Northeast Sub-regional game tonight at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, Fyffe (25-5) hosts Area 13 runner-up Asbury (18-11). Sub-regional winners advance to play Friday in the Class 2A Northeast Regional at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Two teams known for offense showed their defensive prowess in the area finals. NSM was held to its lowest point total of the season while Fyffe had its fifth lowest point total. It was the fewest point total either scored in regulation this season.
“It’s one of the best defensive games of high school basketball I’ve seen in a really long time,” said NSM head coach Cole Hicks. “Neither team could really get anything going on offense. We didn’t shoot very well at all. [Russ] Marr shot it great but nobody else could get it going.
Marr scored a game-high 33 points for the Bison. The sophomore hit five 3-pointers and also was 8-of-8 at the free-throw line. The Bison also got six points each from Hunter Vest and Luke Maples and four each from Stone Yates and Taylor Stone.
Parker Godwin and Micah Johnson scored 16 points each while Gabe Gardener added 14 for the Red Devils, who led 14-10, 29-27 and 45-41 at the quarter breaks before the game went to overtime tied at 50-all. Johnson hit the go-ahead basket midway through the overtime period for the Red Devils.
“After the game I told [the players] there was nothing I could say to make them feel better,” Hicks said. “But the thing is, winning wouldn’t have made our season and losing didn’t end our season. There’s still a lot of basketball to play if we want there to be.”
NSM and Collinsville have not played one another this season.
“They’re an athletic team that’s going to guard you,” Hicks said. “It’s a tough place to play. We’ve got to play really good.”