McCallie 7-foot-1 center David Craig provided great baseline defense as he trapped a Darlington player who had to heave the ball high in the air. Parker Robison leaped in the air for the steal and with quick instincts the sophomore point guard threw a perfect pass over the top to a driving Milos Stijepovic for a layup to take a six-point lead with 1:02 left in overtime.
"That play sealed the deal right there. That was the dagger," said Robison, who starred in the Blue Tornado's 54-44 victory Monday in which he made four first-half 3-pointers and finished with four assists. "We had to regroup after letting go of a fourth quarter lead. We hit some big shots and played great defense to close out a quality win."
After going 3-for-7 from the free throw line in the last 1:37 of regulation, and letting senior star Patrick Shelley score 10 straight points for Darlington (9-2), David Conrady's McCallie team left nothing to doubt.
The Blue Tornado (16-1) drained all eight free throws in overtime in which they outscored the Tigers 10-0.
Junior guard Kollin Claridy made four free throws in overtime while the versatile guard made a trio of 3-pointers to tie Robison for a team-high 14 points. Claridy also hustled for a block and a key overtime steal in McCallie's 12th straight victory coming off an impressive Best of Preps championship run.
"At the end of every practice we focus on end of game situations," Claridy said. "All of that hard work showed tonight. Our confidence is high, but we aren't getting comfortable. This team has a lot of unselfish players who move the ball well and it has been working out perfectly."
Craig had nine points and as many rebounds while the Mercer committment's two-handed slam dunk off an assist from Stijepovic provided a 39-31 lead with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Wilson Rankin added two of the Blue Tornado's 10 3-pointers.
Shelley finished with 14 points for Darlington and was sensational on both ends of the court in the final 4:33 of regulation. Braden Bell forced overtime for the Tigers with a 3-pointer with two seconds left.
Howard 84, Chattanooga Patriots 39: The Hustlin' Tigers (10-2) received 23 points from Jadon Jenkins while Jaylen Taylor made four 3-pointers in the victory.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.