Joe Haze Austin

Pontotoc junior Joe Haze Austin slashes past Center Hill's Kaeden Laws on his way to the basket.

CENTER HILL- Pontotoc basketball went on the road for tough matchup against perennial Class 5A contender Center Hill last Tuesday. The game was back and forth the entire way, with the Warriors eventually falling 70-69 in overtime on a buzzer beater.

Eight points, including two 3-pointers, from Jaylen Edwards, as well as buckets from Rock Robinson, J.J. Washington and Zane Tipler, helped the Warriors jump out to an early 19-6 lead. The Mustangs, however, finished the first quarter strong. Kaeden Lowe knocked down a three to make it 19-18 after a 12-0 run.

Dajerious Scott drove to the basket for a highly contested layup to open the second quarter, and Rock Robinson made an tough underhanded shot in the lane, but Center Hill answered with a 3-point play from Calvin Dockery and back-to-back 3-pointers from Zandon Haralson to go up 27-23. Pontotoc came back with basket by Joe Haze Austin and a 3-pointer by Edwards to regain the lead 28-27. The Mustangs pulled back again when Tanner Burcham converted a layup, followed immediately by a steal and score by Haralson. Center Hill maintained a very slight advantage the rest of the half, going into the locker room with a 36-33 edge after a last second tip-in by Haralson. 

Rock Robinson scored the Warriors' first bucket of the second half. Then Scott slashed to the hoop and rolled it in, drawing a foul and converting the free throw. Center Hill reeled off three of the next four baskets in the game. Robinson drove the baseline and knocked down a floater, followed by a layup by Scott to tie it at 44-all. 

Scott hit a jumper to tie it at 46-46, and Austin drilled a 3-pointer to give the Warriors the lead. Pontotoc went into the final quarter with a 51-47 edge after Scott found a seam in the defense and scored again.

Austin buried another 3-pointer to start the fourth to make it 54-47. The Warriors held a 7-point lead twice more when Austin came up with a steal and passed it ahead to a streaking Robinson for a layup, and again when Robinson scored and converted the and-one, followed by a free throw by Scott to make it 60-54.

Center Hill regained the lead 61-60 with 2:58 to go, but Austin came up with another steal and passed to Scott for a layup to put Pontotoc back ahead. The teams traded baskets and were tied 64-64 in the closing seconds. Center Hill ran down the clock and held for the final shot, but a 3-point attempt did not fall and the contest went into overtime.

Scott made a free throw, followed by a basket by Robinson that put the Warriors on top 67-66 with 1:28 to go in the extra period. Dockery got to the foul line for Center Hill and knocked down both to give the Mustangs a 68-67 advantage with 39 seconds to go.

With around 10 seconds left, Rock Robinson scored for the Warriors to give them the lead. Center Hill quickly pushed the ball downcourt and point guard Jonathan Mitchell made a shot as the buzzer sounded to give the Mustangs the thrilling 70-69 victory; it was Mitchell's only shot attempt of the night.

In other action, the Warriors defeated Columbus 46-44 in a road game on Thursday.

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