Staff photos by Paul Henry

South Lincoln’s Eagles finished in the top spot of the 35th Annual Lions Club Tip-Off Tournament with a 41-37 win over Highland Rim in a barnburner.

The Eagles had sent the Hornets to the losers’ bracket earlier in the week with a 39-33 victory. Highland Rim advanced to the rematch, defeating Flintville, 46-29, in the semifinals.

Both teams struggled to put points on the board in the first quarter; the Eagles were up 6-3 at the end of one. The score got more on track in the second frame. South Lincoln was up 16-13 at the end of one.

The Hornets broke the game open in the third, taking the period, 18-8, knocking down four shots from the arc. With 2:52 in the third, Highland Rim took the lead, 23-22, and was on top, 31-24, at the end of three.

The final frame kept the excitement one would want in any championship game. The Eagles got on an 11-3 run when Brady Wiseman knocked down a 3-pointer, cutting the Hornets’ lead to 34-33. With one minute remaining in the game, Eli Ogle put the Eagles up, 35-34. With 37 seconds on the clock, South was on top, 37-34, but in their next possession, Highland Rim’s Jack Massey nailed his fourth 3-pointer of the game, and it was knotted at 37-37.

But, the Hornets didn’t get the stops they needed on defense as the Eagles ran the floor. Brady Wiseman and Kenny Squires added baskets, the last coming at the buzzer to give the Eagles the win, 41-37. South Lincoln won the final frame, 17-6.

Eli Ogle led the scoring for the Eagles with 25 points; Brady Wiseman followed with 6, hitting 1 from the arc; Coleman Bain scored 6; Kenny Squires, 2; and Wyatt Phillips scored 2.

South was 6 of 15 from the line.

Jack Massey set the pace for the Hornets with 20 points, nailing 4 from the arc; Jake Pendergrass followed with 5 points with one 3-pointer; Logan Carter scored 5; Evan Eason, 4; and Alex Curry finished with 3.

Highland Rim hit 1 of 10 from the line.

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