GEORGIA 76, TENNESSEE 74 (OT)
Georgia - 14 - 18 - 9 - 25 - 10 -- 76
Tennessee - 17 - 14 - 19 - 16 - 8 -- 74
Georgia (76) -- Cole Birchfield 15, Todd 8, Arnold 6, Parrish, Means 7, Vess 2, Daniel Brooks 16, Hill 6, Bautista 7, Rucker 9.
Tennessee (74) -- Ford 8, Jorden Williams 12, Jackson, Worthington 8, Walters 9, Smith 8, Bryant 4, Matthews, Swafford 7, Davenport 4, Wilkerson, Chris Cox 14.
3-point goals: Georgia 8 (Birchfield 4, Brooks 2, Means, Bautista); Tennessee 8 (Williams 3, Smith 2, Swafford, Davenport, Ford). Other highlights: Rico Means 6 r, 3 a; O'Shea Hill, Brady Todd, Zach Vess each 6 r (G); D'Mondta Smith 6 r; Stedmon Ford 5 a; C.J. Bryant 3 s (T).
There is nothing like a plan when it comes together, to hear Dade County boys' basketball coach Glen Hicks tell it.
Hicks, who was the Georgia head coach in the Tennessee-Georgia all-star game Tuesday at Notre Dame, jokingly took full credit for the play that sent the boys' game to overtime, where the Georgia squad pulled out a 76-74 victory.
Dalton's Alex Bautista made the off-balance 3-point shot from the left side of the court at the regulation buzzer.
"That's exactly the way we drew it up," Hicks said. "We wanted Alex to stumble a little bit, ball fake, then throw it up and bank it in."
Bautista's account of the play discussed during a timeout with 4.9 seconds left went a little differently.
"All I did was run down the floor," Bautista said. "The point guard was supposed to shoot it."
But because some Tennessee defenders converged on the ball as it was being brought up the floor, a long pass was thrown ahead to Bautista.
"I'm not going to lie," said Bautista, who ended up being chosen Georgia's player of the game after his heroics. "I saw the clock out of the corner of my eye and it was at 0.9 seconds. I thought this is not going in, but I shot it with confidence and it went in."
Signal Mountain and Tennessee coach Steve Redman said during the timeout he told his players to foul once the ball was taken across halfcourt. The pass to Bautista came from behind the midcourt line.
"It was a long pass they got off and we weren't able to foul," Redman said. "Those crazy shots are the ones that always go. We didn't want to let them get it off, but they did."
The game was the sixth decided by five points or less and marked the first overtime game in the series, which Tennessee leads 7-4. The extra period, which began with Gordon Lee's Daniel Brooks making a 3-point shot from the right wing off the tip and Dalton's Demond Rucker following with a drive for a five-point Georgia lead, was shortened to two minutes instead of the high school regulation four.
Dade County's Cole Birchfield had a chance to put Georgia up by seven in OT but failed to complete a four-point play with 48.6 seconds remaining.
Notre Dame's Stedmon Ford, selected Tennessee's player of the game, made it a two-point game with a 3 from the left corner with 17 seconds to go, but his 3-point shot from beyond the top of the key at the buzzer fell short.
Georgia led twice the entire first half -- the last at the 20-second mark when Brooks made a fadeaway jumper to make it 32-31 at the break. Dalton's Rico Means started the third-quarter scoring with a 3-point goal, but Tennessee scored the next 15 points.
Tennessee aided Georgia's comeback by missing its first nine free throws in the fourth quarter before Howard's Brandon Walters made two with 4.9 seconds left for a 66-63 lead, setting the stage for Bautista.
Brooks led Georgia with 16 points and Birchfield added 15.
Knoxville Catholic's Chris Cox topped Tennessee with 14 points. McCallie's Jorden Williams contributed 12 and also won the 3-point shooting contest at halftime.
"These are fun games," said Hicks, who is 2-1 in the series and all decided by two points. "Just like the Brooks kid and getting to coach him. We competed against Daniel Parrish at LFO and Zach Vess at Murray County. All these guys you competed against for four years.
"I told them, 'I felt like you're the 10 best players in North Georgia. Just go out and play.' I'd love to have these son-of-a-guns in my system for a week."
Central 5-foot-8 guard Dewaun Swafford won the slam-dunk contest between the girls' and boys' games.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.