LEXINGTON — Sydney Houston’s jump shot with two seconds to play made Lexington’s path to the Northwest Regional tournament a little bit tougher Saturday night.
Houston’s 12-footer rattled in, giving Tanner a 40-38 upset victory in overtime against Class 2A, No. 4 Lexington (26-7) in the Area 15 championship game.
As a result, Lexington will be on the road for Thursday’s sub-regional game against No. 5 Red Bay. Tanner (12-15) will host Phil Campbell. Sub-regional winners advance to Wallace State-Hanceville.
“A really good athlete hit a really good shot at the end of the game,” Lexington coach Nick Cottrell said. “They hit the shot at the end of the game that sends us to a harder path. Our girls hate to lose. We got down four in overtime and battled back and tied the game.”
For Houston, it was her first game-winning shot since the eighth grade. The shot came seconds after Haven Albright tied the game at 38 with two free throws as Lexington battled back from a 37-33 deficit with 1:31 to play.
Houston dribbled into the paint, and her shot caught plenty of iron before dropping in with two seconds to play. Lexington barely inbounded the ball when the final buzzer went off.
“I knew there were about four of five seconds left and I was going to drive in and get a foul or get a shot,” she said.
The game was a classic only in the sense that it went down to the final play. Lexington turned the ball over 20 times and let a 31-24 lead disappear in the fourth quarter. After building the lead, the Bears needed Sydney Corum’s leaner in the low post with 20 seconds to play to force overtime.
“We never got into a good rhythm on offense, but I don’t think they did either,” Cottrell said. “It was a pretty ugly game on both sides of the court for both teams.”
Lexington made only two field goals in the second half after taking a 26-21 halftime lead.
Tanner coach Larry Greene thought switching to a zone defense after trying to play man-to-man in two previous losses to Lexington was a key to the win. Cottrell, though, said he expected the move.
“We knew they were going to go zone because our penetration had killed them both times we played them,” he said.
“It worked for three quarters and then we got outscored in the fourth quarter 9-2. We fouled way too much in the second half. I think we fouled because we were excited and not focused.”
Savannah Stults led Lexington with 13 points.
Alliyah Fletcher led Tanner with 10 points. Samara French scored nine and Houston finished with seven.