Falcons get second chance in OT, advance to Jackson

Dennis Clayton, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo
·3 min read

Feb. 28—INGOMAR — The Ingomar Falcons got a second chance to survive and advance in the 1A boys playoffs and they won the contest in overtime by a final of 64-56 over H.W. Byers on Saturday.

Ingomar (28-5) will play in the 1A state semifinals on Monday against McEvans.

Byers had the final possession of regulation and worked the clock down for one final shot. The Lions got the opportunity they were looking for under the goal, but the shot off the glass was too hard and the teams went into overtime tied 53-53.

It was Shugars time, when the contest hit extras as Ingomar's Zach Shugars scored seven of his team's 11 points in OT.

"We just had to trust the work that we put in," Shugars said. "Adin (Johnson) hit that three to tie the ballgame up, and I just told them as we were going into overtime, 'Hey, all we got to do is win the tip and get some stops, they are not in as good a shape as we are.'

"All during practice and in the season we just worked hard to put ourselves into this position right here, now we've just got two more games left to finish it out."

Shugars set the tone for the overtime as he buried a three from the wing to give the Falcons the 56-53 lead. Ingomar went on an 11-0 run before Byers hit a three at the end of the overtime.

Byers (19-2) appeared on the verge of taking control of the contest as it built a 51-45 lead with just over four minutes remaining. However, the Falcons closed regulation by outscoring the Lions 8-2, as Johnson hit two big 3-pointers.

Tyson Smithey was a force in the paint for Ingomar during the first half, when he scored 13 of his 19 points.

"We got No. 1 (Devin Moore) in foul trouble, and that helped a lot with me being able to shoot over their smaller players, and I was just making shots and they were giving me the ball," Smithey said.

Byers led 16-12 after a quarter, but Ingomar came back behind the combo of Smithey and Johnson to take a 30-25 lead at the half. Johnson hit three 3-pointers and scored 15 total as he and Smithey account for all but two of the Falcon points.

Coach Jonathan Ashley was thankful for the second opportunity offered the Falcons in OT and pleased with his team's resolve to finish strong.

"We had struggled and been fortunate, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," Ashley said. "Got it to overtime and I feel like everybody in the huddle just kinda thought, 'Whew, we survived.'

"We tried to do a little something different against their zone in overtime, and it turned out that Zach got a good look and again, there's not anyone that puts in more work than he does at that, and he buried it."

Johnson was high man for the Falcons with 23 points including five 3-pointers. Smithey worked hard in the paint for 19 points while Shugars took control in OT and finished with 18.

Moore had 15 for Byers while Michael James and Cedric Watson scored 11 points apiece.