The Second District showdown Tuesday night between McCracken County and St. Mary at the Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena came down to the final 18.7 seconds.
And thanks to Kam Chumbler hitting a free throw with 2.4 seconds left, St. Mary turning the ball over with 1.4 seconds to go and Bryce Rodgers sinking his shot from the charity stripe with four-tenths of a second left, McCracken County kept its hope for the Second District regular season championship alive with a 69-67 victory.
McCracken County (17-8, 4-1 2nd District), which lost at St. Mary 77-62 Monday night, will go for the outright Second District regular season crown when it hosts Paducah Tilghman on Friday. A Tilghman wins makes it a three-way tie for first.
"We had the No. 1 seed, but St. Mary, last night they slapped it off of us and said it was theirs," McCracken County coach Burlin Brower said. "We came back tonight and said we wanted our chair back. I've got to give our kids credit, because we had a non-nonsense approach in the first quarter. We came out and jumped on them like we were supposed to. I'm really proud at the way the kids played tonight."
Chumbler led all scorers with a game-high 24 points, including going 8-of-12 from the free-throw line in the game's final 5:52. Jason Armstrong added 16 and Rodgers had 12.
St. Mary (17-8, 4-2 2nd District) was led by Patrick Hubert's 19 points. Tyler Dome put in 16 and Harrison Dickens scored 11.
The Mustangs led 52-42 at the start of the fourth, but St. Mary fought back and eventually tied the game at 67-all with 30 seconds to go on Hubert's jumper.
Chumbler then hit his two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining.
After both teams called a time-out, the Vikings were able to get their in-bounds pass in and McCracken County got the ball with 1.4 ticks left.
On the ensuing in-bounds pass, Rodgers was fouled and he hit 1-of-2 to seal it.
"They're a good basketball team," St. Mary coach Greg Overstreet said. "Last night, we played really well and they had an off night. They came out and got to the rim on us early and we got behind. They are very difficult to press so we went to our half-court defense possession-by-possession and finally got enough stops."
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St. Mary 11 20 42 67
McCracken County 20 33 52 69
ST. MARY- Averill 8, Dickens 11, Dome 16, Eggemeyer 2, Hubert 19, Overstreet 7, Vaughan 2.
Field goals 15. 3-pointers 9 (Dome 4, Dickens 3, Hubert Overstreet). Free throws 10/13. Record 17-8, 4-2 2nd District .
MCCRACKEN COUNTY- Burnett 8, Chumbler 24, Armstrong 16, Telfair 2, Stonecipher 3, Vega 2, Hayden 2, Rodgers 12.
Field goals 19. 3-pointers 4 (Chumbler 3, Stonecipher). Free throws 19/28. Record 17-8, 4-1 2nd District.
Girls: St. Mary 47, McCracken County 44 - St. Mary was steady at the free-throw line and that - coupled with a game-ending 13-7 run - allowed the Lady Vikings to get by host McCracken County 47-44 Tuesday night in a girls Second District game at Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena.
The two teams met at St. Mary on Monday night and the Lady Mustangs won that affair 57-56.
St. Mary (12-8, 1-5 2nd District) hit 6-of-12 from the in the final 2:01 to help secure its win.
St. Mary was led by Alex Durbin's 17 points and Casey Kupper's 12.
"I tell our team all the time that free throws make you or break you, and I've said that my entire coaching career," St. Mary coach Staci Averill said. "We played a lot smarter down the stretch tonight and did what we needed to do. Last night, Casey and Alex both had three fouls in the first half and we got off to a bad start. But I was really proud of them that when we were down we stayed composed."
Jacqueline Roof, who hit a three to make it the final, had the game-high and was the top scorer for McCracken County with 21 points and Alex Smith added 13.
McCracken County (14-12, 3-2 2nd District) had things going its way when Roof drained a three with 5:16 left in the game and put the Lady Mustangs on top 36-32.
But things changed over the next 4:51 and the Lady Vikings took a 43-38 advantage on two Durbin free throws with 50.9 to play. She made it 47-41 for St. Mary with her final freebie with 9.1 ticks on the clock.
"You've got to give them credit, because they made a lot of shots down the stretch and we didn't," said McCracken County coach Josh Barnett, whose Lady Mustangs lost a shot at the Second District regular season title with the loss. "They got too many shots on second-shot opportunities, they scored 13 points that way, and we went 50 percent from the free-throw line. That's the recipe for getting beat."
St. Mary 13 18 30 47
McCracken County 6 21 29 44
ST. MARY - Bratton 6, Durbin 17, Gipson 3, Kupper 12, Word 6, Shockley
Field goals 8. 3-pointers 3 Word 2, Gipson). Free throws 22/32. Record 12-8, 2-4 2nd District).
MCCRACKEN COUNTY- Baer 3, Smith 13, Turner 2, Roof 21, Weir 1, Telfair 4, Lemus, Kidd, Womack, Rocha.
Field goals 9. 3-pointers 5 (Smith, Roof 4). Free throws 11/24. Record 14-12, 3-2 2nd District.
Call James D. Horne, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8661 or follow him on Twitter @bigdog_jamesd.