Fans attending the boys and girls varsity basketball games at Harlem High School this past Tuesday certainly got their money's worth.
Harlem fans saw their Lady Bulldogs earn a 35-30 win in overtime. Lakeside's boys basketball fans cheered their team to a 55-51 overtime victory. Lakeside boys basketball coach Ryan Morningstar went home relieved.
"I'm going to have a heart attack before I'm 30," he said, after his Lakeside squad won in back-to-back nail-biters.
After hanging on to beat Elbert County at home three days earlier, the Panthers battled back and forth with Harlem on Tuesday night in a game that saw seven lead changes in the first half. Lakeside took the lead on a Levi Hanks 3-pointer with two minutes left in the third quarter and, though Harlem tied the score twice, the Panthers never trailed again.
Junior Cason Gordy scored 15 points in the win while Blake Brandenburg added 10 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Harlem's DeMarcus Morris tallied 16 points before he fouled out in the overtime period, while Cedric Boatner put up a season-high 23 points in the loss.
With two last-minute wins in two games, Lakeside entered the weekend with a 3-6 record and, Morningstar said, a renewed sense of confidence.
"These games are great because the kids are getting to feel what it's like to step up and score," Morningstar said. "The kids have a little confidence now because we're winning."
While team unity helped the Lakeside boys in their overtime win, the same togetherness actually hurt the Harlem girls. Three Harlem starters, Nicole Wells, Kacee Camp and Diamond Rorie, shared a stomach virus all last week.
"I think it started with Diamond," Wells said after Tuesday's game. "I was throwing up yesterday in practice."
Camp and Rorie did their throwing up during different times in Tuesday night's game, but the three sick girls managed to score 27 of Harlem's 35 points in the overtime win.
For Harlem first-year coach Shari Colley it was an indication of her team's dedication level.
"When we played (Lakeside) the first time we got way ahead and then let them come back," she said. "Now we're so tight as a team, and they give me their hearts."
Colley, who spent the past two years coaching the undefeated Grovetown Middle School girls basketball team, took over as Harlem's girls basketball coach two weeks into the season.
Colley said she was hired on at Harlem to take the place of former physical education teacher and softball coach Melissa Chase.
Colley is the third head coach this girls basketball team has had this season.
"I told them I'm not going anywhere," she said. "They need some stability."
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