After getting burned by multiple three-pointers in the second half on Friday night, Logan Hullender and the Ringgold Tigers gave rival LFO a bit of its own medicine when it counted the most.
After seeing what had been a 16-point first-half lead transformed into as much as a seven-point second-half deficit, Hullender would hit three huge triples in the fourth quarter and just missed on a fourth. But Cade Nayadley was able to stick home a rebound with six seconds left and the Tigers were able to escape with a 68-66 victory over the Warriors.
LFO (7-12, 4-5) took a fast 7-2 lead, but the rest of the half would belong to Ringgold.
The Tigers (16-5, 8-2) would go on to what turned out to be a 30-9 run over the next 13 minutes of action. LFO would manage just 12 more points the rest of the half, but an off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer by Patryk Gilbert would cut the lead down to 32-19 and set the tone for what would occur in the third quarter.
After going virtually silent in the first half, LFO point guard Ruddy Ware got scalding hot in the third quarter.
Ware had a hand in all of the Warriors' points during a 15-4 run over the first four minutes of the period. He personally scored 13 of the points himself, including two threes, while he also made a nice assist to Gilbert as LFO closed the gap down to two.
The deficit was down to one after Andrew Brock buried a three-pointer from the corner with 3:06 left in the period and Ware would put the Warriors back in the lead with a steal and a lay-up seconds later. Gilbert added an old fashioned three-point play at the 2:02 mark and LFO would go up 42-38.
The Tigers would come back to tie it at 42, but Brock would answer with another trey and the lead would change hands three more times before the end of the quarter, the last time coming on another steal and lay-up by Ware just seconds ahead of the horn.
Down 50-46 to begin the final period, Ringgold would once again cut the lead down to one only to once again see Brock and Ware connect on back-to-back treys. Jackson Herrod got into the act with a long-range bomb of his own and suddenly the LFO lead was up to 63-55 with 4:02 remaining in the game.
But in this back-and-forth saga, the Tigers would get to write the final act of the script.
Hullender, who had been held in check in the first three-and-a-half quarters of the game, suddenly found his range. He drained a three-ball with 3:05 to play and added another one on the Tigers' ensuing possession, cutting LFO's lead down to 65-63.
Jacob King would hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Warriors with 2:01 left, pushing the lead back to three points. But Hullender calmly shredded the nets on another three-pointer to tie the score at 66-all.
Both teams would miss from the free throw line over the next few seconds and LFO would dribble nearly a minute off the clock before getting an open look at a three. The shot would be off the mark, but King would grab a huge offensive rebound for his team, which eventually led to another open look at a three-pointer.
Once again though, LFO could not get the shot the fall and the Tigers would grab the rebound and call time-out with 20 seconds remaining. The ball would go into Hullender, whose three-point attempt found only iron. But Nayadley was able to work his size to his advantage as he grabbed the rebound and dropped it back through the hoop for what would become the winning bucket.
LFO would get one final possession in the last 3.7 seconds. However, after hurrying the ball upcourt, the Warriors were not able to get off a shot before time expired.
Hullender finished with 17 points for the Tigers. Chandler Chastain and Ammon Murphy each had 12 points while Nayadley finished with 11.
Ware had 24 points to lead all scorers, 17 of those points coming in the third quarter alone. Gilbert added 13 points, followed by Brock with 11, King with eight and Herrod with seven.
LFO girls 51, Ringgold 46
There was also some late drama in the night's first game as the Lady Warriors (11-10, 5-4) led 38-29 going into the final quarter before staving off a late charge from their rivals.
Ringgold (9-12, 3-7) missed a shot inside the paint with less than 20 seconds left that would have cut LFO's lead to 49-48. The Lady Tigers were instead forced to put top gunner Macey Gregg at the free throw line and the LFO junior would make 1-of-2 to make it a two-possession game.
Gregg then put the game away by stealing the ball on the Lady Tigers' ensuing possession and drawing another foul with nine seconds to go. She would hit 1-of-2 at the line to seal the victory.
Gregg had seven steals to go with her 21 points. She now stands less than 20 points away from reaching the 1,000-point plateau for her high school career. Gracen Hobbs had 11 points and three steals while Jerrian Jackson added six points.
Shelby Cole had 10 points and recorded three steals for Ringgold, while Sydney Pittman had nine points and three assists. Rachel Akers ended her night with eight points and seven rebounds, while Kaylee Womack also had eight points to go with three steals.
Ringgold will play makeup games at Murray County on Saturday afternoon starting at 4 p.m., while LFO will be at home on Saturday. They will face North Murray in a 6 p.m. doubleheader.