The Gadsden County High School’s boys’ basketball team found themselves trailing Marianna by 24 points midway the second quarter of their District 2-5A tournament final in the Jaguar gym Friday night.
The host team then circled the wagons and defensed themselves to a 55-53 victory to earn a regional host berth in the state playoffs.
The Jaguars got hot and got to within 17 points by the half and kept the defensive clamps on the Bulldogs to get the deficit to eight by the start of the fourth quarter.
With a balanced scoring effort, Gadsden High tied the visitors late in the last stanza and won the game when Jimmy Hester grabbed a missed shot rebound and put the ball in the basket at the buzzer to finish the uphill climb.
The basket put Hester in the double-figure scoring parade with 10 points, allowing him to join teammates Jabari Harris (14), B.J. Corker (12) and Sammy Carter (10) in the twin-figure scoring range.
Harris also had 10 rebounds in the contest.
“It was by far our best defensive effort this year,” Jaguar coach Drew Moten said. “We just got in a mode to play overall team defense and kept pecking away offensively to get one of our best wins this year and get to host a region game.”
That region game will be tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. when West Florida Tech, out of Pensacola, comes to the Gadsden gym.
The Jaguars reached the district final by downing Taylor County 59-34 in their district semifinal game last Tuesday.
By Joe Ferolito