Fighting for their postseason mortality, the Pine Tree Pirates saw a late fourth quarter lead evaporate, resulting subsequently in a 66-63 overtime loss to the Hallsville Bobcats here Friday night at a packed Pirate Center.
Bobcat junior guard Shadd Berg scored five of his 13 points in the extra session, including a clutch 3-pointer from left of the key with 0:47 showing on the clock.
Berg's bomb was preceded by a midcourt steal and layup to pull Hallsville within a point at 61-60 with 1:47 left in overtime.
"It was the greatest feeling in the world when the shot left my hand. Our motto is going for the gold and every game is important for us to make the playoffs," said an exultant Berg.
Pine Tree went up 52-48 with 5:01 left in the fourth after Trey Williams dropped a couple of free throws. The Pirates held as much as a 10-point advantage in the third when Eric Hawkins parlayed a steal into points at 4:10 to make it 44-34.
Both teams were hampered by a substantial amount of foul calls. Pine Tree leading scorer and rebounder J.J. Sparkman fouled out at 6:18 of regulation. He finished with just two points and two rebounds.
Blaine Parker started the Bobcat rally when he converted a layup and added a free throw for a three-point play midway of the third. Parker finished the evening with 18 points, including 12 of 15 from the charity stripe.
Hallsville closed the third on a 12-1 run and went to the fourth with a 46-45 lead. It was the Bobcats first lead since late in the second quarter.
"It was hard for us tonight," admitted Bobcat boss Rusty Walker. "A lot of credit has to go to Pine Tree. They fought really hard. But what a testament to team. We finished with five players on the floor."
The back-and-forth affair saw no less than 12 lead changes and seven ties. The fans definitely got their money's worth in this one.
A bank shot from Berg put Hallsville in front 56-55 with 1:54 to go in the fourth. Pine Tree's Pokey Best made good on the front end of a two-shot foul to tie the score at 56-all 1:12 left.
The Bobcats played for the last shot of regulation and put the ball in Parker's able hands. The southpaw drove baseline, but couldn't connect and Berg misfired on the put back as the horn sounded.
Pine Tree's Kenny Jackson scored on a up-and-under layup to begin OT and give the Pirates the early lead. Best, who canned three of fourth from the line in the extra period, gave the hosts a 61-58 lead at 2:17.
The flurry of baskets by Berg proved to be Pine Tree's waterloo and led to Hallsville's thrilling comeback victory.
Hallsville improves to 5-4 in District 16-5A play and 21-8 overall, while Pine Tree drops to 3-7 and 8-17. The Bobcats host Marshall Tuesday and the Pirates are off until they pay a visit to Marshall Friday.