The down-to-the-wire basketball rivalry between Franklin County and Port St. Joe stayed true to form Saturday night on the hardwood at the Marion Craig Coliseum, with a goaltending call and a foul on a three-point shot figuring into the overtime finish.
With 10 seconds left in regulation, and the Seahawks clinging to a 46-43 lead, Tiger Shark sophomore Elijah Harris drew a foul on an unsuccessful try outside the arc in the home bench corner, giving him a chance to tie the game at the charity stripe.
Harris drained the first two of this three free throws, but then saw the third hit the front of the rim and fall backwards.
Seahawk senior Ehtan Kembro grabbed the rebound and was quickly fouled, but he then managed to sink only the first of his two free throw tries.
And so with just 3.5 seconds left, and Port St Joe having missed a handful of tries, Harris put up a shot that didn’t go in and the game looked to be over as time ran out.
But it wasn’t, as the refs called goaltending, and so the game had ended at 47-all in regulation, with a four minute overtime to decide it.
Senior Lonnie O’Neal put in a Kembro miss to give the Seahawks’ a 49-47 lead, but then freshman Tiger Shark Zay Jenkins scored to knot the game again.
Franklin County freshman Sadiq Jones scored to put the visiting team ahead 51-49, and then as both teams battled under the St. Joe basket, Franklin County managed to escape with the ball and Kembro slammed an emphatic dunk home with six seconds left, and a 53-49 lead.
It was essential for the Seahawks that he scored because with no time left on the clock, Jenkins drained a three-pointer that would have otherwise handed his team the win.
Instead, the Seahawks came away with a 53-52 victory.
Franklin County had opened a 13-11 lead after the first quarter, but St. Joe had grabbed the edge back at halftime. 23-22. The Seahaks had seized it back 36-33 going into the final stanza.
“Heck of a game, you can’t get any better than that right now,” said Port St. Joe Coach Sandy Quinn. “You can tell by the fans it was exciting. We just came up one point short and that’s what we expect when we play a rival.
“Hopefully we can go over there and get that one over there,” he said.
The loss raised Franklin County’s record to 10-7 overall, and 2-0 in district play, while Port St. Joe fell to 5-9 overall and 2-1 in the districts.
The two teams meet again Friday, Jan. 26 at the Nest in Eastpoint.