LEXINGTON — Sydney Houston said she knew the shot was going in when it left her hand.Of course, she had a little bit of a sheepish grin on her face as she said it.
Regardless, when her 12-foot jumper in the lane rattled home with two seconds to play, it gave Tanner a 40-38 upset victory in overtime against Lexington and the Class 2A, Area 15 championship.
Equally important, it gave the Rattlers (12-15) an easier path to the Northwest Regional with a home game in this week's sub-regional matchup against Phil Campbell.
For No. 4 Lexington, the path to Wallace State-Hanceville got tougher. The Golden Bears (26-7) travel to No. 5 Red Bay on Thursday for their sub-regional game.
For Houston, it was her first game-winning shot since the eighth grade. The winner came seconds after Haven Albright tied the game at 38 with two free throws.
Tanner inbounded the ball with 12 seconds to play. Houston took a pass on the right wing and dribbled into the paint. Her shot caught plenty of iron before dropping in with two seconds to play. Lexington barely inbounded the ball when the final buzzer went off.
"I knew there were about four of five seconds left and I was going to drive in and get a foul or get a shot," She said. "It's tough not to panic because your emotions get to going and your adrenalin is pumping. You get too excited and you don't know what to do, but you remind yourself to stay calm and play your game. But I knew it was going in."
Lexington owned two wins over Tanner in the regular season, including a 19-point drubbing two weeks ago on the same court. But coach Larry Greene changed defenses this time, and the new scheme paid dividends.
Greene said in the previous two games Lexington's speedy guards were able to break down the defense and attack the basket. Against an extended 3-2 zone, that didn't happen Saturday night. Tanner forced 20 turnovers and limited Lexington to two baskets in the second half and overtime, overcoming a 26-21 deficit in the process.
"I think (the zone) caught them a little by surprise," Greene said. "We extended out our zone and we wanted to keep them from driving, and in the zone we were able to do that better than in the man."
Lexington ended the first half with a 6-0 run to lead 26-21. It was 31-24 after three quarters before Tanner rallied. Four different players scored in a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter as the Rattlers took a 33-31 lead.
Sydney Corum tied it at 33 with 20 seconds to play with only the second field goal of the second half for Lexington. The Bears nearly pulled out the win at the buzzer when Morgan Stults came up with a steal but her off-balance layup didn't go in, sending the game to overtime.
Alliyah Fletcher led Tanner with 10 points. Samara French scored nine and Houston finished with seven.Savannah Stults led Lexington with 13 points.
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