The Signal Mountain boys' basketball team fought back late against District 6-AA rival Red Bank on the way to a 55-52 overtime victory Friday night.
After starting out the season 2-0, the Eagles ended a seven-game losing streak with a win that coach Steve Redman hopes will be a turning point in the season.
"We're still trying to figure out who we are," Redman said. "So to steal one here tonight is huge. Winning on the road in this district is not easy."
The first half belonged entirely to Red Bank (3-4, 1-2), led by guard Torey Sewell. His 11 first-half points highlighted a 31-19 halftime lead for the Lions. Lucas Brown established his presence at the rim for much of the early game as well, totaling five rebounds and 10 points in the half.
However, Signal Mountain (3-7, 1-2) adjusted to its opponent's pace and stole much of Red Bank's momentum. The Lions aided the Eagles via multiple turnovers and fouls, with four traveling calls in the third quarter.
The Eagles found themselves down by 13 points early in the third quarter, the largest margin of the night, before an offensive surge to close the gap. Signal's duo of Travion Williams and Will Allen ignited the spark with 18 of Signal's 29 second-half points.
The Eagles' first lead of the game came off a 7-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to go ahead 46-42.
Red Bank refused to go down without a fight. Down 46-44 with little more than a minute remaining, Sewell connected on a deep 3-pointer in which he was fouled. After he sank the extra free throw, Allen took the ball to the basket and drew a foul to force two free throws of his own. He scored both to tie the game and force overtime.
Signal's defense made the difference in the extra minutes. The Eagles refused to allow the Lions to take a shot uncontested, pulling ahead to take the come-from-behind win.
"They played harder and they played smarter than us," Red Bank coach Nick Fike said. "We need to learn to show up more mentally focused, and I'll take the blame for that."
"It was a tale of two halves," Redman said. "We didn't have toughness in either the first half or the last couple of games. I challenged their manhood at halftime, if they were willing to take charges or get rebounds. Once they did that, it was the spark we needed."
Contact Justin Dempsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.