CONYERS - In thrilling fashion, the Salem basketball teams swept Jones County by the exact same score, 47-45, on Friday evening at home.
In the girls game, it all came down to a game-winning layup. Later on, free throws in the waning seconds gave the boys their fourth victory.
Salem 47, Jones County 45
With just seconds remaining and the score tied at 45, Precious Elkins found the basket for the game-winning layup, extending the Lady Seminoles' winning streak to nine.
Off the inbounds pass, Salem's Shardai Harrison delivered the biggest assist of the night to one of the biggest stars on the hardwood.
"During the timeout, I told the girls, 'Let's just be patient and we'll be all right,'" Salem coach Bill Roberts said. "At that point in time, we went for the high percentage shot, and I think they executed it well."
As a result, the Lady Seminoles (10-1) lived up to their No. 3 ranking.
"It will definitely help us in the long run," Elkins said, who finished with a team-high 19 points. "We can never give up; we gotta always stay focused. I love these games because they're going to help us. They matter now, but it's going to matter more later."
After building a 19-12 lead at halftime, Salem's lead was cut to one by the end of the third quarter thanks to 12 points by Brandi Jones.
Jones finished with a game-high 28 points.
"I knew they were going to make a run, and that (Jones) was going to make that run for them because she's a big-time player," Roberts said.
Salem opened the fourth on a 9-1 run. A basket by Elkins extended the lead to 41-31 with five minutes and 20 seconds left in the game.
But Jones County countered with its own Jones, who drilled her second 3-pointer of the quarter to close the gap 43-40 with 1:41 remaining.
And Trenecia Standifer drilled a 3-pointer from the left side, tying it at 45 with 25 seconds left.
Jones County soon had the chance to take the lead after a missed free throw; however, Elkins and Ariel Wynter blocked shots with 40.8 seconds to go.
Wynter finished with 15 points.
"It's exactly what we need this time of year," Roberts said. "We had to have kids step in and really be big. We got in foul trouble and had to go even further down the bench, and the kids came in and responded well; thank goodness for our bench."
Salem 47, Jones County 45
Not to be outdone, the Seminoles (4-7) rode the emotional girls win by sealing the deal in the final seconds of their game.
Clutch free throws down the stretch catapulted Salem to its biggest win of the season.
"I'm happy that they fought," Salem coach Darren Wilkins said. "They were real excited before the game, and it's good to win a close one like that because it took some thought and some work to be able to do that.
"It's good to get in the win column any way you get there."
Unlike the girls game, the lead was no more than four throughout the entire game. In fact, after the first quarter the score was 10-10, and by halftime 20-20.
With 1:48 left in the fourth stanza, Salem's Jonathon Slade tied the game at 45 by sinking two from the charity stripe.
Two more by Tevin Bradley, who finished with a team-high 15 points, sent the Greyhounds packing.
"I'm still not happy with the way we played," Wilkins said. "I think we can play a whole lot better."
Slade ended with 14 points. Terrence Bennett added nine.
Jones County's Jerome Wooten led all scorers with 18 points. Jake Robertson chipped in 13.
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.