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By GOOSE LINDSAY
The Oliver Springs Middle School Lady Bobcats saved their best for last as Jeanne Armstrong's squad erased an eight-point deficit in the final 5:02 of Tuesday's Area 4 Championship game and picked up an 18-16 victory over Harriman.
Up until those final 5:02 Oliver Springs' offense had no rhythm against Baron Tapp's Lady Devils as Harriman held a 14-6 lead after Darian Boyd and Karli Futrell opened the final quarter with back-to-back baskets.
After scoring just two points in the first half and four points in the third period, the Lady 'Cats began to chip away as Courtney Jones, Bethany Fowler, tournament MVP Emily Griffith and Sydney Duggins all scored in an 8-0 run that tied the game at 14 with 2:23 left.
Harriman scored next on a free throw from Boyd with 2:15 left, but Oliver Springs took the lead for good when Griffith drove the lane for a basket with 54.2 seconds left to play. Griffith would add two free throws with 9.5 seconds left to give the Lady 'Cats an 18-15 advantage.
Down but not out, Boyd hit another free throw with 6.1 seconds left that cut the lead to two at 18-16 then the Lady Devils forced a turnover on the inbound pass that gave Harriman the ball with 4.1 seconds remaining.
Harriman, however, couldn't get off a shot before the buzzer sounded as Oliver Springs held on for the Area 4 title.
Griffith and Jones led Oliver Springs on the night with six points. Jones also had 12 rebounds for the Lady 'Cats while Fowler added 10 boards.
Boyd paced Harriman with eight points. Ivory Peddicord pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds while Jessica Case added 10.
With the victory, Oliver Springs advances to the TMSAA East Tennessee Small School Sectional at Catlettsburg School in Sevier County. The Lady 'Cats will play a yet to be named opponent in Monday's quarterfinal round.
Harriman played Sunbright Thursday in the tournament's opening round.
Harriman (16) Boyd 8, Futrell 4, Peddicord 2, Goldston 2.
Oliver Springs (18) Griffith 6, Fowler 2, Jones 6, Duggins 4.
Rockwood vs. Wartburg
The Rockwood Lady Tigers also advanced to the TMSAA East Tennessee Small School Sectional with a 35-31 victory over Wartburg in the Area 4 consolation game.
Rockwood took the lead early thanks to a 9-0 shutout in the first period of play. Wartburg, however, cut twopoints off that lead in the second quarter as the Lady Bulldogs outscored Rockwood 11-9 in the period to pull within 18-11 at halftime.
The third quarter was a lot like he first as Rockwood outscored Wartburg 6-1 in the frame to make the score 24-12 with six minutes remaining.
The final period would see Wartburg rally, but to no avail as Rockwood held on for the four-point victory.
Dara Cates led Rockwood on the night with 18 points.
Rockwood played at Fairview Thursday in the opening round of the TMSAA East Tennessee Small School Sectional.
Rockwood (35) Cates 18, Thompson 4, Evans 2, Cheek 4, Brackett 3, Freels 2, Farmer 2.