Playing 24 hours before an unfamiliar venue at South Hopkins Middle School, the Caldwell County Lady Tigers returned to old familiar places in Princeton that they once called home, and on Throwback Tuesday night at the old Butler Stadium in downtown Princeton, defeated Crittenden County for a third straight time this season, 59-50, to sweep the season series 3-0, needing their first overtime contest of the season to do it.
The Lady Rockets (15-7) got 25 points from freshman Taylor Guess and are quietly having a superb season and had won five straight, while Caldwell County (13-11) snapped it after a big District 7 win at Hopkins County Central to win two straight.
It was the two clubs' first meeting since the All-A Region 2 semifinals, where they had to scrap out a W to get to the championship game after thrashing the Lady Rockets weeks before in their first game in Marion. Neither game came as close as this one did.
"When you try to beat a team three times, it's tough, and they kept getting better every time we faced them," coach Chuck Mitchell said. "Woodward was a very aggressive kid, and their guard (Guess), we couldn't get the ball out of her hand, she went to the basket any time she wanted to. We went to Tamia Walker, and she really showed some heart, she's one of the biggest reasons we came back.
"Two nights in a row playing in these throwback gyms and it reminds me of back in the day, the environment is great. The fans are wonderful and right there on top of you. The kids love it. To me, it's the epitome of a great high school basketball game. We're trying to find a couple people to help us here and there. We got in a little foul trouble and we got smart."
Against all their recent injury losses in Jada Boyd, A.J. Hollowell and Paris Gray, the Lady Tigers have gotten some solid production even out of their middle school players long before they expected to be making this particular type of impact.
Honored pre-game for her recent achievement into the 1,000-point club with the Lady Tigers, Jacey Jaggers went on to score 12 points and got help along the way.
Majah Hollowell scored 18 points (14 in the second half), Bella McConnell added 17 points and Morgan McDaniels chipped in seven points. Nahlia Woodward scored 11 for the Lady Rockets.
Hollowell opened the game on a nice find from Parker across the corner just 30 seconds in at 2-0 but Caldwell couldn't build much momentum at all as Woodward and the Lady Rockets got to the free throw line at will and had a 9-4 start midway through one quarter of play.
Second chance buckets were hard to come by for Caldwell in the early moments with the Lady Rockets in desperate search of All-A revenge, and the Lady Tigers' offensive struggles would find them down 13-4 after one a 9-0 Crittenden County run wrapped up one of Caldwell's worst frames of the season.
The Lady Tigers would be held scoreless for nearly seven minutes from unforced turnovers, until McConnel's right wing triple sparked a much needed 7-0 run to get back within two, capped off by Hollowell's steal to layup at half court.
McDaniel's knocked down a huge triple from straight away to regain the lead for thee Lady Tigers at 16-15 via an 11-3 run, and creative defense from Tamia Walker at the top of the arc kept the Lady Tigers within 22-18 at halftime as Woodward continued to be a force inside for Crittenden.
The Lady Rockets upped the lead back to six to start the second half, but Jaggers got a short jumper to drop to stop any further damage, and a 6-0 Lady Tiger run would tie the game again at 24-24.
Then, came the signature defensive full-court press from coach Mitchell.
Parker contributed a couple of steals in the third quarter to keep it tied, but the Lady Rockets kept fighting for second-chance points, taking the lead right back up to as many as seven before McConnell's driving and-1 cut the deficit back to 34-31 Crittenden heading to the fourth quarter.
Caldwell's first bucket of the fourth came two minutes in to keep it a one possession game, but Woodard wouldn't be denied to keep up by five.
It would be the last time either club would lead by two possessions in the frame.
The Lady Tigers would have it down to 42-41 with under three minutes remaining, and regained the lead with under two minutes remaining via a floater inside.
Tied at 43-43 inside 30 seconds remaining, an off-ball foul on Crittenden sent McConnell to the free throw line, where she would coolly knock down both for a 45-43 lead.
Woodward would foul out in the period, and foul trouble would later find Guess, who would foul out in overtime after her runner ahead of the buzzer sent it to five extra minutes.
Parker rebounded a miss with 10 seconds left, but free throw attempts to potentially ice it rimmed out and a foul off the rebound would give the Lady Rockets a chance with 3.3 seconds remaining.
Despite two free throw misses, a Guess floater would send it to overtime for the Lady Rockets at 45-45.
McConnell's runner regained Caldwell's one-point lead to start the OT, and Jaggers made bank on an and-1 for their largest lead of the game yet at 51-48 with 2:11 to play. Crittenden County never recovered after their top two players fouled out.
McConnell would up the Lady Tiger lead to five inside 56 seconds remaining at the line, and the Lady Tigers went on to outscore the Lady Rockets 14-5 in overtime.
Goffinett sealed it at the buzzer with a layup for a 59-50 final score.
The Lady Tigers have two more games remaining this week to wrap up four games in six days including a home date with Trigg County on Friday night in a doubleheader at the CAB.