It was billed as a heavyweight slugfest and that's exactly what it turned out to be.
The undefeated LaFayette Ramblers took on the undefeated Chattooga Indians in the second round of the Spring Garden High School Invitational in Alabama on Friday night and the match-up lived up to the hype.
Dee Southern had a career night for the Ramblers. The junior scored 23 points and grabbed 25 rebounds, but his biggest contribution came on a game-winning shot at the end of overtime that gave the Orange-and-Black a 69-68 victory.
"I'm so proud of our guys for the resolve and toughness they showed tonight," said LaFayette head coach Hank Peppers, whose team is now 10-0 on the year. "They battled start to finish and made several big plays down the stretch."
Tied at 17 at the end of the first quarter, LaFayette would go on to take a six-point lead, 38-32, at halftime. Chattooga, however, would chip away in the second half, eventually tying things up at 62 to force overtime.
Alex Kelehear led all scorers with 24 points for LaFayette. Andrew Pendergrass finished with eight points, while birthday boy John Morgan had just seven points, but came through with 13 big rebounds.
"Dee battled so hard the entire game," Peppers said. "He's a very special player and person and plays with such relentless effort and Alex handled the ball versus pressure the entire game and did a great job. He's a true leader and one of the most mentally tough people I’ve ever met."
Dean Price had 16 points for the Indians, while Jundarius Adams added 15 points, 12 of which came either in the fourth quarter or in overtime.
LaFayette will play in the finals at 8:30 p.m. central time on Saturday night. The Ramblers opponent was not known as of press time.
"I'm happy for the guys to get this big-game experience during mid-season and to battle through foul trouble and a couple of injuries to beat a very talented team."