It was one for the record books, a return to the old days, with a packed gym, and an exciting finish.
And who was it between? Why the Franklin County Seahawks and the Port St. Joe Tiger Sharks of course.
It was a basketball fan’s delight, full of spurts, half court shots and a thundering dunk that finished it off.
Here’s what happened Friday night at the Nest.
The Seahawks went off to a 10-1 lead after the opening tip, and looked to be in control.
But St. Joe came back with a 11-2 run to tie it at 12-all. In the final seconds sophomore Daijon Penamon nailed a trey to give the Hawks a slim 15-12 lead going into the second quarter.
Franklin County outscored St. Joe 11-7 in the second quarter to open up a 26-19 lead at the half, but the Tiger Sharks kept a tight pace.
St. Joe opened strong in the third quarter to complete a 14-2 run they had started late in the second quarter and to open a slim 29-28 lead with less than six minutes to play in the quarter.
But senior Tyler Howard, nursing foul trouble, drove the basket to put the Seahawks back on top and to shift momentum.
Mackenzie Williams’ squad then got back into form, outscoring St. Joe 19-6 to take a 49-35 lead at the end of the quarter. Putting the finishing touch to the quarter’s output was a last-second half-court shot by sophomore Jan Lowe, a good 40 feet, which found its mark as the crowd roared its approval.
St. Joe kept fighting back, and narrowed it to 49-46 before a Lowe drive scored and widened the lead to five with about five minutes left.
Senior Kailin Wilson kept his cool at the free throw line, nailing five of six down the stretch to keep the Seahawks ahead. Lowe hit two of three as well, and the Hawks were ahead by nine with seconds left when an alley-oop to Howard and a thunderous jam, put the icing on the cake for a 64-53 win.
Wilson led all scorers with 23 points, including three of five treys, five of 10 from the field, and seven of 10 from the charity stripe. He also snared eight rebounds and had five assists
Senior Zack Przygocki also had a great night, nailing three of six treys, and four of four from the free throw line, for 17 points. Howard, who finished with four fouls, hit for a dozen points, plus seven rebounds and two blocks. Lowe scored nine, with seven assists and three steals. Penamon scored three.
The win marked the team’s 20th win of the season, against six losses, the last of which was a 68-59 loss at East Gadsden Jan. 31. The team was without junior center Nathan Jones, who had an injured ankle.
He is expected to be back in the lineup for the Seahawks district tourney opener at home against Bozeman Friday evening.