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By GOOSE LINDSAY
It was a wild finish Friday night at Roane County High School as Kingston’s Tayler Smith hit three free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining to give the Lady Jackets a 46-45 victory over visiting Harriman.
Things weren’t quite as dramatic in the guys contest as Harriman pulled away in the second half for a 63-47 victory.
Kingston trailed for much of the night Friday, but they led when it mattered the most as Keith Anderson’s Lady Jackets pulled out a 46-45 vic-tory over Harriman.
In fact, Kingston led just three times on the evening and never led by more than one point while Harriman led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter and six points with 1:43 left to play.
“We would have lost this game by 15 points last year,” Kingston head coach Keith Anderson said. “But this year we’ve got some fight to us and some players are stepping up.”
Early on, however, it appeared as if Kingston would lose by 15 if not much more as Harriman used four points each from Kiersten Douglass and Shakira Boyd to jump out to a 12-2 lead with 3:48 left in the first period.
Kingston, however, ended the period on a 6-1 run to pull within 13-8 after eight minutes of play.
Kingston then opened the second period with a pair of baskets from Callie Mergen as they used an 8-2 run to take their first lead of the game at 16-15 with 4:50 left in the first half.
The rest of the half would see Harriman score five straight points then Kingston answered with the final four points of the period to leave the teams tied at 20 at halftime.
The third period would feature two more runs as Harriman opened the period with an 8-1 run only to see Kingston score the final eight points of the period to give the Lady Jackets a 29-28 lead with eight minutes left to play.
The final period remained close until Harriman’s Tiffany Eskridge buried a three-pointer with 3:58 remaining to give the Lady Devils a 37-33 lead.
The lead stood at 43-37 when Kingston’s Tayler Smith, Jennifer Givens and Jenna Ray combined for three baskets in a span of 32 seconds as the game was tied heading into the final minute.
Harriman regained the lead when Boyd knocked down a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left to make the score 45-43.
What happened next still has Harriman fans scratching their heads.
With 3.8 seconds left, Kingston’s Alicia Martin was fouled after an offensive rebound. Harriman was then hit with a technical foul after a player slammed the ball on the floor.
That meant Martin would have two free throws for being fouled and any player could then shoot the two technical free throws.
However, confusion followed about the order of the free throws and that allowed Smith to shoot all four free throws, making three.
“They (officials) asked me who I wanted to shoot the technical and I said Tayler,” Anderson said. “Then after she made those two they asked me again who I wanted to shoot the technical and I said Tayler since she had already hit two in a row.”
Harriman head coach Jim Cordell wasn’t angry about the mix up after the game. He was, however, angry that his team committed a technical foul in the closing seconds of the contest.
“This is the second night in a row that we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory,” Cordell said referring to a 49-45 loss to Greenback 24 hours earlier. “We’ve got to quit beating ourselves. We should not have lost the game like that. At worst, we should have been going to overtime.
“Defensively, I thought we played pretty well tonight, but we’re not quite where we want to be on offense yet.”
Smith led Kingston on the night with 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks while Ray added 10 points and eight boards.
Boyd (12 points, 9 rebounds), Douglass (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Eskridge (10 points, 5 rebounds) were the leaders for Harriman.
Kingston’s Jennifer Givens and Harriman’s Moriah Anderson each had five assists on the night while Givens also had five steals.
Harriman (45) Douglass 10, Anderson 3, Boyd 12, Eskridge 10, Fuqua 8, Price 2.
Kingston (46) Smith 19, Ray 10, Jennifer Givens 5, Thearp 2, Mergen 6, Jacquelyn Givens 4.
The final game of the evening appeared heading toward a close finish as the two teams were tied at 40 with two minutes to play in the third quarter, but the final 10 minutes of play belonged to the Blue Devils as they ended the game with a 23-7 run to pick up the 63-47 victory.
Harriman did begin play with a 9-2 run, but the Jackets responded with a 13-2 run of their own to take a 15-11 with 5:52 left in the first half.
Kingston’s lead grew to as many as 22-16 with 3:38 to play in the half, but Harriman’s Cody McGill caught fire down the stretch to give the Devils a 30-28 lead at halftime. McGill buried two triples and scored eight points in the final 2:22 of the half.
The third quarter would see three ties and the score was tied at 40 when Harriman scored the final seven points of the period to take a 47-40 lead with eight minutes left in the contest.
Kingston did stay within striking distance for much of the final period, but the Jackets could never put together a run to get back into the con-test then the Devils sealed the deal at the charity stripe.
McGill paced Harriman with 16 points while Jeff Inman pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Jonathan Fuqua dished out five assists.
Matt Francis led Kingston with 13 points while James Sams recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Harriman (63) McGill 16, Gallaher 7, D. Inman 9, Collins 3, Jarvis Inman 9, Jeff Inman 5, Fuqua 6, Kyker 8.
Kingston (47) Kelley 2, Murphy 4, Sams 12, Francis 13, Gough 7, Mitchell 9.