ELLENBORO - If it works once, do it again.
At least that is what the Panthers from Lincoln County did Saturday night in capturing a wild 46-44 victory over Doddridge County in the championship game of the Ritchie County Holiday Tournament.
Trailing 44-43 with 3.5 seconds remaining, junior Andrew Davis sank the game-winning triple as time expired to give Lincoln County the win. Making the shot that more amazing was the fact that the Panthers, now 2-5 on the season, needed a buzzer-beating triple by freshman Corey Rusk to pull within two, 22-20, at the intermission.
The comeback spoiled what appeared to be a valiant comeback by the green and gold as four straight points by junior Brandon Smith, the final two coming on a steal with 3.5 seconds remaining, gave the Bulldogs the lead. There was also some controversy over the amount of time as the clock showed 2.5 seconds following Smith's layin, but was increased by one second without any explanation.
But, on the ensuing inbounds, the Panthers' Jacob Adkins took the pass, dribbled once and then threw the ball to Davis, who lost control for a moment, but recovered just in time to take a dribble and drill the game-winning shot.
"Crazy," Doddridge County head coach David Burnside said. "I've never been a part of a game like this. We asked for an explanation (for the additional one second), but we were never given one."
Doddridge County, now 1-4, received 14 points from Ashton Hinzman and 11 from Smith while Lincoln County (2-5) was paced by Schyler Kelley's game-high 17 points and 11, including the game-winning trey, by Davis.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 22-20 lead at the intermission thanks to nine points from Hinzman and from Smith.
Lincoln County tallied the first five points of the game, but a bucket by Smith with 6:31 showing on the clock ignited an 11-2 run over the final portion of the first quarter as Doddridge took an 11-7 lead to the benches.
The Bulldogs increased their lead to five, 17-12, on an inside bucket by Smith before the Panthers sliced the deficit to two thanks mainly to a buzzer-beating triple by Corey Lusk.
The learning process continues for head coach Rick Haught and his Rebels from Ritchie County as a poor first half performance led to a 61-48 loss to Buckhannon-Upshur in the night's first game.
Junior Seth Cottrill tallied a game-high 23 points (20 in the second half) and freshman Riley Allen chipped in with 16 but it was not enough as the Rebels dropped to 1-4 on the season.
Buckhannon, which raced out to a 38-18 lead at the intermission, improved to 3-3 on the season. Leading the Buccaneers on the scoreboard was Zane Clevenger with 17 points. Cody Garrett added 13 points and Dillon Gaudet came off of the bench to chip in nine.