With first place in the district on the line Tuesday night, the Chattanooga Christian boys' basketball team was down 39-37 to host Boyd Buchanan heading into the fourth quarter, and CCS star Michael Houge was on the bench with an injured ankle.
The Boyd Buchanan student section was roaring after the Buccaneers ripped off 12 straight points to end the third quarter with the two-point lead — their first since midway through the first period. Junior Ian Johnson lit it up from behind the arc in the quarter, shooting 3-of-4 from long range and scoring 13 straight points for the Bucs to seize momentum and put the Chargers against the ropes.
The Chargers responded, however, ending the game on a 13-3 run to pull off an emotional 54-47 win. Led by senior Amos Davenport's 14 points, the Chargers remain unbeaten in league play and are one win away from clinching the Division II-A East District 2 title.
"We talked at halftime about maintaining our composure," Chargers coach Eddie Salter said. "They're going to make runs and hit shots, but we can't fold, and sure enough, they hit some great shots. But our players made plays, and we did a great job of rebounding and it was a great team win."
The Chargers took Salter's halftime advice, staying calm down the stretch. After Bucs junior Eli Evans hit a 3-pointer early in the final period to give his team a 44-41 lead, CCS fought back to tie the game at 47 with under two minutes to go.
That's when Davenport hit arguably the biggest shot of the game, a corner 3 that gave the Chargers a three-point advantage. With 26 seconds left and the crowd roaring, the senior stepped to the line after being fouled to shoot a one-and-one, and he calmly drained both shots to extend the lead to five before the defense held on for the victory.
"In this kind of atmosphere with their student section, that is a ginormous win," said a smiling Davenport. "We play around Mike, and without him that shows that we have some heart in us."
Houge looked unstoppable in the first quarter, scoring nine of the Chargers' points as they held a 13-11 lead after the opening frame. But just seconds into the second quarter, the junior went down holding his ankle and writhing in pain after attempting to grab an offensive rebound.
With one of the best players in the area out for the rest of the game, the team stepped up. Six players scored in the quarter as the Chargers went on a 15-4 run and led by 10 at halftime.
"This just shows everyone in the area what we can do," said Grant Van Meter, who had nine points for the Chargers. "We had our best guy go out in the second quarter, and they hit a ton of shots, but we had guys step up all over the place."
Johnson led the Bucs with 19 points, while Evans chipped in 15.
Contact Kevin Llewallyn@timesfreepress.com.