KINGSPORT — Jordan Cross watched his long 3-point attempt at the end of regulation from afar. It looked good, he admitted afterward. But the rim thought otherwise.
No matter. There was still an overtime to contest. Cross scored 10 of his 21 points in the extra session, helping Sullivan East secure a marquee non-conference win at Sullivan South on Saturday, 64-61.
“This is the first game we’ve played all year that’s gone down to the last possession,” East coach John Dyer said. “We need more of those games, those situations.
“You have to play games like this to toughen up. South is great, but our guys hung in there.”
Cross, a junior guard, collected just four points in the second half. He came alive, though, when East (17-3) needed him most. A missed foul shot was his only blemish in OT.
He finished the fifth period a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor. The late show included a superlative looping runner from the baseline on which he was also fouled. The 3-point play pushed the Patriots’ lead to five points, 61-56, with under a minute to play.
“This was the first overtime we have had all year,” Cross said. “Everybody on the team knew we had to come out and play tough so that’s what we did.”
“(Jordan) played great,” Dyer said. “He took the ball to the basket and made his foul shots.”
South (11-7) trailed by as many as seven points in the final three minutes of regulation, but clawed back behind Ethan Bates. The senior scored six straight points at one juncture to pull the Rebels to within two, 49-47.
Post Logan Blair followed with a key block on Cross. Tyler Moore then made two foul shots to even things with 1:09 remaining.
South had a chance to take the lead — following a missed 3 from Chase Depew — but Blair’s baseline drive with just under 10 seconds on the clock was deemed an offensive foul. It was his fifth personal.
Cross’ long miss followed, and overtime beckoned.
“We had a shot,” Rebels coach Mark Pendleton said. “We had the ball with under 10 seconds there, but it didn’t go our way.
“That’s OK. The kids battled. They played hard.”
Without Blair, a 6-foot-6 senior, South was vulnerable to penetration. Cross exploited it. He scored East’s first six points of the extra session; of his 10 points in OT, six came in the paint.
Trey Gilreath added five in the period. His two foul shots with 9.5 seconds to go sealed the win.
“We got two or three stops when we absolutely had to have them,” said Dyer, whose team dug out of an early 13-2 hole. “We then made some big shots in the overtime.”
“It was a roller coaster,” Cross said. “Every time we come over here, we know it’s going to be a tough game.”
South claimed a 48-29 edge on the glass. Twenty-one of those rebounds were offensive.
The Rebels, who were without starting guard Andrew Pickwell, were led by Moore. His monster game included 26 points — four 3s — and 11 boards. Bates added 11, and Bailee Dick nine.
“It’s just one of those things,” Pendleton said. “East is a good team, and they hit some big shots to put us away in overtime.”
Earlier, the South ladies posted a comfortable 55-38 afternoon victory.
Makensey Campbell totaled 14 points to anchor the Lady Rebels (6-8), who never trailed. Lauren Latture collected 11, while Abbey Fletcher added eight.
“We played pretty well,” South coach Josh Tate said. “The girls were pretty solid today.”
East (8-10) received 14 points from guard Angel Trent. No other Lady Patriot scored more than five.