Whether it's a safe idea or not, the Tyner basketball Rams have put a lot of energy into third quarters as of late. A lot of times they find themselves in a first-half hole, trying to weather the storm until the second half.
That transpired again Tuesday night, and the result was the same as in the past few games -- a win.
The Rams scored 27 points in the third period -- six more than they did in the first half -- and went on to defeat East Hamilton 63-56 in a crucial District 6-AA game at Tyner.
"Our last seven games, the third quarter has been our best friend," Tyner coach Gerald Harris said. "I challenged the guys at halftime because I was upset at the attitude of how we had approached the deficit. They hit every shot and we played bad, but not really bad."
The Hurricanes (15-9, 7-5) held a 10-point halftime edge due to their hot shooting, but the momentum shifted and then accelerated on a controversial call. With the Rams (16-6, 8-4) leading 35-33, the Hurricanes' Cody Knox went up for a shot and a foul was called on Tyner. Knox was awarded two shots, but the East Hamilton coaching staff contended that the ball went through the net and the basket should have counted.
The officials went twice to the scorers' table for an official ruling and eventually waved the shot off. Hurricanes head coach Michael Stone ultimately was called for a technical foul for arguing.
Tyner, already on a 14-2 run before the incident, continued the onslaught with 10 straight points. East Hamilton, which was guilty of nine turnovers in the third quarter, watched as the Rams took a 48-41 lead into the fourth quarter.
"We had all of the momentum in the ballgame," Stone said. "Then the 'excitement' happened and it felt like lights out in the Super Bowl. It was such a momentum swing, but I was proud of the guys -- it would have been easy to fold.
"If you give Tyner that much momentum in their gym in a game that means that much, it's tough to win. We just couldn't get the momentum back on our side."
The Hurricanes trimmed the lead to four in the fourth quarter, but Tyner's pressure on the guards, as well as the energy the visitors exhibited in the first half, seemed to cost them in the games' final minutes.
Bristen Bridgeman led the Rams with 15 points, while Sadik Spence and Jemicah Bowman each finished with 13. Knox had 22 points to lead the Hurricanes, while Ladarius Watkins had 14.
"We came out in that third quarter playing gangbusters," Harris said. "We got some easy shots in transition. It was a tale of two halves, and we did a good job of bouncing back. We knew it was going to be a dogfight."