The Lewisburg Middle School Tigers ran their record to 12-1 Thursday night when they pulled out a hard fought 49-48 victory over the Page Middle School Panthers in their final home game of the season.
LMS trailed by 41-38 at the end of the third quarter, but clamped down defensively in the fourth and put together a 10-0 run to seize a 48-41 advantage with 1:13 left to play before staving off a late rally attempt by the Panthers.
"This was exactly the type of game we needed going into our postseason tournament. Page had an inside game and three-point shooters. It's great to beat a team like this," said Lewisburg head coach David Lovell.
After shooting 50 percent from the field through the first three quarters of play, the Panthers hit just 3 of 18 shots in the fourth to finish 19 of 50 from the floor overall, which included a 5 of 18 effort from three-point range.
"We started switching more on their screens and did a better job of rotating defensively on dribble penetration in the fourth quarter. The guys really played hard down the stretch. They really wanted to win this game," said Lovell.
LMS, meanwhile, shot 50 percent from the field (18-36) and outscored Page 10-5 at the foul line.
Guards Kevin Peterson and Jalen Jones spearheaded Lewisburg's offensive attack. Peterson poured in 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, and four steals, while Jones hit 5-of-7 shots and finished with 12 points.
Mariel Nicholson also added six points and five rebounds for the Tigers, and Barry Mayes tallied four points and three steals. Cameron Bowers (two points), Jesse Kilpatrick (two points), Corbin Clark (two points), Malik Crawford (two points), and Vance Agent (one point) rounded out the scoring for LMS.
Center Matt Pond paced Page with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocked shots, while Gavin Dea and Cam Miller scored 11 and nine points respectively.
The Panthers jumped out to an early 9-4 lead, but Lewisburg went on a 10-2 run thanks to six points from Nicholson and four points from Peterson to grab a 14-11 lead late in the first quarter.
Page outscored the Tigers 8-1 over the next two minutes to pull ahead 19-15 early in the second, before LMS countered with a 12-3 spurt to take a 27-22 lead with 1:02 left in the quarter.
After notching the final six points of the half to claim a 28-27 advantage at the break, the Panthers opened up a 30-27 lead early in the third.
Peterson and Mayes sandwiched a pair of baskets around a Jones three-pointer to help put the Tigers up 34-30, but Page closed the third with an 11-4 run to take a 41-38 lead.
In the fourth, Jones scored on a layup and drilled a trey from the right wing to give Lewisburg a 43-41 advantage, before Peterson buried a three from the left corner and converted a couple of free throws to stretch the Tigers' lead to 48-41.
Following an offensive put back by Pond, Dea canned a trey with 36 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 48-46.
Peterson hit one of two foul shots to make it 49-46 before Miller scored on a layup to narrow the gap to 49-48 with :10 left.
Although Jones missed two free throws with 3.8 seconds left, Miller was well off the mark on a desperation heave from half court to give Lewisburg the victory.