Byron Phillips credited hang time for the wild finish at Grovetown's gym Tuesday.
The Warriors forward's ability to stay in the air led to the go-ahead bucket of Grovetown's 52-51 victory over Lakeside.
The win pushed first-year Grovetown (6-10, 6-5 Region 3-AAAA) over the .500 mark in region play. The Warriors face a wicked two-game stretch this weekend against Richmond Academy and Evans.
"We're still a program that's growing," Grovetown coach Casey Dees said. "To come into this region and have a winning record at this point is a testament to our kids and how hard they've worked."
Credit Phillips for creating the optimism Tuesday. He soared for a rebound and kissed the ball in off the glass with 8 seconds left for the deciding basket.
"I can stay in the air a long time, as you can see," Phillips said laughing. "It felt good."
Lakeside called back-to-back timeouts to set up a play to go the length of the court with 6 seconds remaining. The play never had a chance.
Panthers senior Justin Pitock threw laterally to Justin Jahn, who had stepped off the floor to receive the pass. The whistle blew and an official signaled Grovetown ball.
Panthers coach Ryan Morningstar was told his first timeout had been granted after the ball had been inbounded following Phillips' basket, meaning the Panthers could not use the baseline on the subsequent play.
The Warriors missed the front end of their bonus with less than 5 seconds left. Lakeside was not able to hoist a shot.
Morningstar didn't point to the late-game debacle in the quiet hallway outside the Warriors gym.
"As a team, we know it shouldn't have come down to that," he said.
Grovetown survived a Panthers' shooting barrage during the second half. Jahn, who finished with 17 points, drained three consecutive 3-pointers during the third quarter. His layup late in the third gave Lakeside its first lead of the game, at 42-40.
"We were right back in it," Jahn said.
Lakeside (5-12, 3-9) has dropped two in a row, but its players know they are close, Jahn said.
"We're right in the ball games," he said. "A couple plays and we're right there."
Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165, ext. 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.