By Dustin Schandevel
SEARCY—The Harding Academy Wildcats defeated the Southside Southerners, 55-54, in a double overtime thriller at the Harris Gym on Jan. 10. Brady Palmer led the way for the Wildcats with 20 points, including the game-winning three.
The win improved the Wildcats to 6-0 in conference, 10-4 overall. The Wildcats handed the Southerners their first conference defeat, dropping them to 6-1, 13-2 overall.
Wildcats coach Brad Francis said hard work from practice led them to the win.
“A lot of the things we’ve been working on over the last couple weeks really showed tonight,” Francis said. “It ought to give us confidence to win against a quality team like Southside.”
The Southerners struck first in double overtime after Grant Patterson hit two free throws to take a 54-52 lead with 53 seconds left. Palmer stalled on the next possession before pulling up and connecting on a three with 8.3 seconds left to take the 55-54 lead. The Southerners scrambled on the last play before their coach called a timeout with 1.5 seconds remaining. Alex Brogdon shot a three at the buzzer but could not connect as the ball bounced off the front of the rim.
The Wildcats took the first lead in overtime after Travis Turley hit one of his four threes in the game to make it 50-47. The Southerners responded with a 5-0 run after Grant Patterson converted on a fastbreak layup off a steal and later a three to make it 52-50 with 1:17 remaining. The Wildcats had 14.8 seconds left to tie the game after Alex Brogdon could not convert at the free throw line to extend the Southerners lead. The Wildcats tied the game with 0.6 seconds left after Alex Morgan was left unguarded under the basket for the easy basket to make it 52-52. The Southerners could not get a shot off and the game went into double overtime.
The Southerners entered the fourth quarter down three, but outscored the Wildcats 9-6 to tie the game up at the end of regulation at 47. The Southerners had a chance to win the game with 7.7 seconds left but Koby Rich missed a corner three at the end of regulation.
Both teams were on fire in the third quarter. The Southerners outscored the Wildcats 19-18 but the Wildcats held a 41-38 lead going into the fourth. The Wildcats hit six threes in the third.
The Southerners opened the game on a 9-2 run. Trystan Alcorn scored all eight of his points in the first quarter and accounted for eight of the Southerners first 11. The Wildcats took their first lead of the game after Davis Morgan hit a shot at the end of the quarter to make it 12-11.
Both teams play next on Jan. 13 as the Wildcats will host the Tuckerman Bulldogs while the Southerners take on the Heber Springs Panthers away.