Tenth-ranked Berea staged a frenetic comeback to send the game to overtime Tuesday night, but No. 8 Greenville recovered and held on for a 40-37 victory at Slick Moore Gymnasium to take over sole possession of first place in the Peach Blossom AAA Region.
The Red Raiders (17-5, 11-1), seeking their second region title in three years, have two games remaining: at Eastside on Thursday and at Blue Ridge on Friday.
“We’ve still got two tough games this week,” Greenville coach Anthony Gowens said. “We can’t get comfortable.”
It only seemed as though the Raiders had a comfortable lead against Berea (14-5, 11-2), but the Bulldogs, trailing 33-22 with 3:18 left in regulation, scored 11 consecutive points. Ashante Stokes nailed a 3-pointer with four seconds left that tied the score.
“We had to get ourselves back together,” said Lindsay Lewis, who led Greenville with 17 points. “They’re a good team, so we knew that they were going to bring it. I’m just glad we stuck together and kept going at it.”
“The girls showed a lot of heart and character,” Gowens said. “They didn’t drop their heads when things got bad.”
Instead, Greenville scored the first two baskets in overtime, one each by Queshauna Whitner and Brianna Thompson, and then Lewis hit 3 of 4 from the free-throw line to give the Raiders a 40-37 lead with 17 seconds left.
Berea misfired on a couple of 3-point attempts in the final seconds.
“We fought back. We played hard. We just came up a little short,” Berea coach Jennifer Looper said. “They don’t like to lose, and that’s a good thing.”
Stokes finished with 12 points for the Bulldogs. Nyilah Stowers scored 10 points, including eight in the fourth quarter and overtime.
* Anthony Nash scored 17 points and Trey Williams added 16 points, and Greenville’s boys pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 57-47 victory.
Berea led 42-20 after three quarters, but Williams scored eight points in the fourth quarter, and Michael Jefferson hit four free throws in the final 1:29 for Greenville (11-11, 5-7).
“The guys battled and played well,” Greenville coach Mike Anderson said. “For our seniors, it was their last home game. I’m just proud they could go out with a win.”
Justin Leckie scored 18 points on six 3-pointers for Berea (10-9, 5-8).