When overtime began Munford guard Keenan Thompson had made just one field goal, but his time was coming.
With seven seconds left and Brighton looking for a potential game winner, Braden Lewis came up with a steal at half court and shoveled the ball to Thompson. He took two dribbles and walked into a three-pointer on the wing.
It hit nothing but net with two seconds left and a wild celebration ensued Tuesday night on the Cougars’ home court in the wake of a wild 63-60 win.
“Just get the ball, shoot it, see if it goes in and win the game,” Thompson nonchalantly said after the game when asked what was going through his mind. “And it did.”
Thompson, a senior who transferred from Bartlett during the offseason, said it was only second time he had ever hit a game-winning shot. He scored nine of Munford’s 11 points in overtime to finish with 13.
First-year Munford coach Nick Buford said he had prevented two possible wins earlier in the season by calling timeouts during crunch time. He did not make that mistake again.
“I don’t know who it was, but one of my assistant coaches grabbed me and said, ‘You got two (timeouts), you got two.'” Buford said. “I was like, ‘No, it’s tied, I’ll let the kids decide.’ I’m learning just like them.”
Late in the third quarter Shane Cox hit a 3-pointer to put Munford ahead 39-31, but Brighton quickly got back into the game, thanks largely to senior Kejuan Dyson.
Despite vomiting early in the fourth quarter and taking a break, Dyson had a monster game with 30 points. He hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 in the third quarter and hit two more from deep in the fourth quarter. The second one came with 13 seconds left in regulation and tied the game at 50-50.
Thompson hit two free throws with 10 second left before Brighton’s Jay Dancey scored at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
A 3-point play by Thompson with 1:11 left tied the game and set up the dramatic ending.
Brighton coach Stan Gatlin said untimely turnovers, defensive breakdowns and an untimely foul made the difference.
“It boils down to being fundamentally sound during crunch time,” he said. “If you don’t do fundamental stuff you get a result like this here … Nick did a great job. We went to lunch the other day and talked and I knew it was going to be a tough game. I look forward to playing them again.”
DeMaryo Gatlin scored 15 for Brighton and Ken Henning added eight.
The Cardinals are 7-2 overall and 2-1 in district play, which puts them in a three-way tie for first with Munford and Dyer County.
Michael Lee and Javaris Tolton each scored 14 for Munford, which improved to 3-10 overall and 2-1 in district play.
Buford called the win a “signature moment so far.”
“The best thing was to see all of them enjoy this together in the locker room celebrating, but we do have a 24-hour rule. You can mourn a loss or enjoy the win for 24 hours and then we have to move on.”