The Saddle Ridge Mustangs and junior varsity Mustangs traveled to Eastbrook on Thursday evening for a boys-only doubleheader. In the end, Saddle Ridge would go down to defeat twice, but not before giving the hosts all they wanted.
The junior varsity teams squared off first with Eastbrook winning a low-scoring 22-13 decision. Jason Guffey led Saddle Ridge with four points, followed Greyson Potts and Marvin Johnson, who each had one 3-pointer. A bucket by Aidan Hannibal and a free throw from Gavin Potts rounded out the scoring.
Gavin Potts led the team in rebounds, while Hannibal was the team leader in steals.
In the nightcap, the game was tied at 24 at intermission and it would remain tied at the end of the third and fourth periods before Eastbrook finally prevailed, 50-48.
The Mustangs would get a pair of big stops in the final moments of regulation to send the game to an extra session knotted up at 46. Eastbrook got the first two points of overtime at the free throw line after a Saddle Ridge lane violation and they were able to keep the Mustangs at arm's-length after a furious final minute.
Head coach Lance Underwood said he was proud of his team, noting that seven of the 10 players on the Mustangs' roster were suiting up in their first varsity game.
"We lost a heartbreaker tonight, but this experience is invaluable for our team and our program," he said. "I hate to lose that way, but I hope that this becomes a defining moment for our season. Our guys have a lot to be proud of tonight, but I think our guys have a chip on their shoulders after this loss. I'm eager to get back in the gym to continue our growth and to keep getting better as a team."
Nick Green poured in 19 points to lead all scorers for Saddle Ridge (0-1). Cole Spears and Jaiden Smith both got in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while six points on two treys by Landon Kennedy in his first varsity game helped send the game to overtime.
Saddle Ridge's boys and girls will host Chattanooga Valley this coming Tuesday, starting at 4:30 p.m.