It was a night of nail biters Friday, as five county games were decided by three points or less and the league's last unbeaten team, Centennial, suffered its first loss in county play.
Hammond (4-4, 5-6) went on the road and took down the first-place Eagles (7-1, 7-3) in overtime, 63-60. Brian Green was the leader of the Golden Bears' charge with 24 points, while Duane Echols (18 points) and James Turner (14) had big nights as well.
"It was tight the whole way, we were actually up four late in the fourth quarter, but they shot really well from foul line down the stretch and they just outhustled us," Centennial coach Chad Hollwedel said. "They did a great job … I give them a lot of credit."
Green hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to tie the game at 50 and force overtime. Then in the extra period, the Golden Bears made enough plays to pull out the win.
For a Hammond team that, prior to Friday, had yet to beat a team with a winning record this season, it was breakthrough effort.
"We showed the grit that I've been waiting for from this group. It's taken over a month, but we finally played a complete game," Hammond coach Karl Friedheim said.
Keonte Potts (19 points) and Omari Ringgold (15) led Centennial in the loss.
That wasn't the only game with an exciting finish, though.
Wilde Lake came up with a big defensive stand in the last 30 seconds to defeat Atholton by one, 68-67. "That stop was the defining moment of the game for us," Wilde Lake coach Deon Wingfield said. "They had the ball down one and we buckled down."
The win was the seventh straight for the Wildecats and came in spite of a 35-point night from Atholton senior Gavin Stephenson. Devaughn Garner led the way in the victory for Wilde Lake with 17 points, all of which came in the second half.
Elsewhere, Marriotts Ridge outlasted Mt. Hebron, 58-56, Howard came back from down 20 to beat Oakland Mills, 57-56, and Glenelg held off River Hill, 60-58.
To put the night in perspective, before Friday only six county games the entire season had been decided by three points or less.
The evening's other game was also close throughout, with Long Reach defeating Reservoir, 44-39.
When the dust settled, Centennial and Marriotts Ridge (7-1, 9-1) found themselves tied for first place just one game ahead of Wilde Lake (6-2, 8-2).
Hammond 63, Centennial 60 OT
Ha (4-4, 5-7): Green 24, Echols 18, Turner 14, Woodland 3, Lashley 3, Poston 3.
C (7-1, 7-3): Potts 19, Ringgold 15, Goldsmith 9, Adams 4, Tinuoye 4, Eads 5, Klima 2, Peterson 2.
Half: 25-24 C.
Wilde Lake 68, Atholton 67