Captain Shreve erased a 10-point, second-half deficit only to give up a lead late in regulation, and Byrd pulled away in overtime for a 74-66 home win Thursday.
Chad Lott (22 points) and David Holmes (11 points) combined for nine of the Yellow Jackets’ 10 overtime points, including a Holmes dunk to put an exclamation mark on a win that creates a logjam on top of District 1-5A.
“We’re a team that usually at home, we come back in the second half,” Lott said. “We couldn’t let this one get away.
“(In overtime), we knew that everybody had to step up, and I felt everybody did. Shreve played a heck of a game (in the earlier 100-79 Gators win), and it was more of an embarrasment than anything, and we said we weren’t going to let that happen again.”
Byrd (24-4, 6-2), Shreve (14-9, 6-2) and Southwood (17-10, 6-2) are tied atop District 1-5A after the Cowboys fell to Airline on Thursday.
Two district games remain, including Southwood at Byrd today.
“We’ve made this turnaround in tournaments earlier in the season, so even though this is an emotional win, we’ll be ready to play,” said Byrd coach Rusty Johnson. “Our zone (defense) helped us stay in the game, and when we got down, we jumped into our press.
“We knew we had to win to compete for a district title, but we still have two tough ones left.”
The Gators seemed to be void of momentum late in the third quarter when Byrd opened a 46-36 lead with a 12-4 run.
But Shreve guard Toronco Loston drilled three of his five 3-pointers during a 16-3 run in a three-minute span to put the Gators up 52-49 at the end of the third quarter.
Loston, who scored a game-high 29 points, was a burst of energy all night.
“He’s a special player,” said Shreve coach Todd Martinez, who added that Shreve’s three losses to Byrd in the last four years have been in overtime. “It’s more than just making open shots, he can pass the ball and find guys on the back side for layups.
“But at the end, we thought we had it, and we let it go. It was like we were reaching for something but we were only pushing it further away.”
Byrd started the fourth quarter with 3-pointers from Montrey Thomas (six points) and Lott, but Shreve surged ahead 64-59 on the heels of four Loston free throws, the last two came with 45 seconds left.
After a Holmes bucket, Shreve missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Byrd’s Kory Ashley (16 points) tied the game with a three-point play.
Holmes blocked a Jesse McWright (nine points) shot with two seconds remaining, then stole the inbounds pass to force overtime.
Captain Shreve’s Tyrone Earls added 12 points to join Loston in double figures.
The Yellow Jackets survived a 10-of-21 night from the free throw line, while the Gators remained close by shooting 12-of-16.