Sophomore guard Jacoby Ross nailed a 3-point shot at the start of the extra period to give the Warhorses a lead they would not relinquish in a tense 50-46 overtime victory over No. 14 seed Neville of Monroe Tuesday night.
The two teams were tied after regulation at 40, and the clutch 3-pointer by Ross (10 points) gave Peabody’s Warhorses a 43-40 lead.
“That 3 by Jacoby kind of sparked us, gave us some momentum,” said senior guard Gabriel Jordan, who had six points. “It gave us a little bit of energy and gave us an extra boost, just seeing the ball go through the hoop.”
That was a rare sight for both teams at the Emerald Palace, with both teams miserably cold in their shooting on a wintry-like night when all the other local playoff games were postponed to Wednesday night because of icy travel conditions earlier in the day.
“The kids played tough defense, and they found a way to win,” said Peabody coach Charles Smith, whose third-seeded squad improved to 28-5 and advanced to Friday’s quarterfinal game in Lafayette at Northside, which upset Washington-Marion of Lake Charles in the second round.
Freshman Cedric Russell led Peabody with 18 points, including two clinching free throws with 10 seconds left in overtime when the Warhorses were clinging to a 48-46 lead.
“Jacoby Ross had that big 3, and Cedric stepped up and hit both of his free throws in overtime,” said Peabody assistant coach Kedric Smith. “We belive in our guards. We believe they’re going to make shots. They didn’t (for the most part) tonight, but we believe they’ll step up and give us a better performance on Friday.”
Peabody looked ready to dominate in building an early 10-2 lead, but, in a foreshadowing of how Neville kept battling despite their shooting woes, the Tigers rallied to take the lead twice in the second period at 13-12 and 16-14, and they trailed just 23-21 at halftime.
The message in the Peabody dressing room at the break, said the younger Smith, was to take “care of the ball, take good shots and stop dribble penetration by their guards.”