But in the end, it was Andrew Pickwell and the Rebels who made just enough plays down the stretch to outlast the Falcons 53-48, sending South’s four seniors out on a high note in their final home game.
Pickwell scored all of his game-high 13 points in the second half and South went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the last 13.2 seconds to preserve the victory.
The two teams combined to commit 41 turnovers and took turns struggling to put points on the board in a game that featured plenty of whistles and very little rhythm.
“They hung in there and did the things down the stretch to hang on and win,” South coach Mark Pendleton said. “It was a rugged game, probably because both of us were out of school today, but I’m proud of our kids.”
After trailing 31-30 with 1:28 left in the third period, South took the lead for good on a Tyler Ashworth jumper in the lane.
A Pickwell layup early in the fourth pushed South’s lead to 48-39 before Volunteer finally found enough consistency to put together a 9-1 run.
The Falcons started the game just 8-of-34 from the field, missing 14 straight shot attempts at one point before embarking on the run that got them back into the game.
The Falcons pulled within a single point with 21.4 seconds left in the contest but were unable to get over the hump. Tyler Moore and T.J. Blanken each knocked down a pair of free throws to help South close out the game.
“I loved our effort,” Volunteer coach Todd Whittemore said. “We battled to the end, gave ourselves a chance to win and just came up short.”
Logan Blair had 10 points for the Rebels (14-12, 6-8) while Volunteer (7-16, 3-10) put four players in double figures. Chris Parker led the Falcons with 12 points while Cameron Trent, Aaron Bennett and Ethan Pearcy added 10 each.
In the girls’ contest, senior guard Ashley Johnson was the difference for the Lady Rebels, who beat the Lady Falcons 53-48.
Johnson, who is coming off of a serious knee injury, scored 17 points to keep her team one step ahead of Volunteer.
South never trailed and it was Johnson who saw to that by scoring most of her points when the Lady Falcons seemed primed to get out front.
“She made open shots and she kept us (in the lead),” South coach Josh Tate said. “She was a huge loss for us when we lost her.”
Makensey Campbell added 14 points for South (7-15, 4-10) while Ashley Lindholm led Volunteer (8-16, 3-10) with 17 points.
In the end, foul shooting hurt the Lady Falcons, who went just 16 of 32 from the charity stripe.