CONYERS - Neither the Eastside nor the Salem boys basketball teams wanted to leave Friday night's game with three subregion losses.
It took one overtime and an incredible amount of energy, but the Eagles (10-8 overall, 2-2 in 8-AAAA South) escaped with a much-needed victory, claiming a 56-55 win over the Seminoles (7-10, 2-2).
Neal Lattimore came up with the clutch points for Eastside, scoring off a layup and later sinking one free throw in the final 1:03 of overtime to provide his team with enough, in fact barely enough, of a margin to top Salem.
The Seminoles actually had two chances to send the game to a second overtime, but Alex Miller was called for charging in the lane with 4.9 seconds left, and then, after an Eagle turnover, his desperation 3-pointer to win it was off the mark.
In regulation, the Seminoles tied the game with 42 seconds left when Dramel Oubre scored inside off a set play.
Both teams had chances to win the contest in regulation after Oubre's bucket, but neither one came up with the right play.
The Eagles held a 46-42 lead with 2:51 left in the game, but Miller ignited the Seminoles' rally with a key 3-pointer 13 seconds later.
In the first half, Eastside opened up the largest lead of the game early in the second quarter at 18-8.
But Salem rallied despite playing short-handed. The Seminoles were without senior standout center Zach Roddenberry, who was ejected after two technical fouls in Tuesday's loss at Heritage.
With only nine players on the bench, the Seminoles put on a game effort. In fact, at one point, Salem had only seven players left in the second half due to injuries to JoJo Smith and Jarrett Brown.
The Semioles closed the first half with a 9-2 run to slice Eastside's lead to 23-22 at halftime - and the game seesawed back and forth from that point.
Artis Clanton paced the Eagles with a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Lattimore chipped in 17.
Julius Giles had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles. Miller and Brown, who later returned after suffering leg cramps, also scored 13 for Salem.
Eastside left the door for Salem's rally with poor foul shooting. The Eagles missed 14 free throws in regulation and 15 in the game, hitting only 7 of 22 shots.
Salem girls 81, Eastside girls 43
The Lady Seminoles (11-6, 3-1) shook off their poor shooting performance in Tuesday's loss at county rival Heritage, seizing control early and never letting up against the Lady Eagles (3-12, 0-4).
Salem senior center Courtney Hurt scored 15 of her game-high 35 points in the first quarter, as the Lady Seminoles opened up 23-4 lead. Hurt added 14 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Sophomore Jaleen Thomas also had a big game for Salem, contributing 18 points, 10 boards and two blocked shots.
The Lady Seminoles' backcourt duo of Rebecca Mitchell and Kentrell White also had a strong game. Mitchell finished with nine points, 10 assists and four steals, while White had nine points and five steals.
Ashley Burtts and Kiara Smith both had 11 points to lead Eastside, while Jade Cook added 10.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.