Conner Hayes calmly sank all three free throws with just two seconds to play to force overtime Saturday afternoon and the Knox County senior put the game away in the extended play with a trio of three-pointers as the Eagles defeated Scotland County 44-39 on Saturday afternoon in Memphis.
SCR-I looked poised to pick up a key conference win, but Hayes was fouled on a desperation three-pointer just before the buzzer and was able to make all three shots from the charity stripe, including the final free throw following a timeout by the Tigers, to turn the tide.
The scoreboard was well rested in the opening eight minutes. Jared Dunn hit a three-pointer to open the scoring for SCR-I. That proved to be the lone points of the first eight minutes as Knox County limped out to a 4-3 lead.
Dunn connected from behind the arc again to start the second period. Will Fromm had a pair of field goals before Dunn scored on a drive to the rim to put SCR-I ahead 12-10. Kade Richmond scored in transition and Fromm added another score before Dunn again found the range from deep to give the tigers a 19-17 lead at the half.
SCR-I extended the margin in the third period, despite scoring just seven points. Jace Morrow scored on an offensive rebound and Matthew Woods had a pair of buckets in the paint as the tigers pulled ahead 26-20 with just eight minutes to play.
Fast break scores by Morrow and Woods kept SCR-I on top. A fade away jumper by Woods made the score 38-24 with 4:14 left to play. That proved to be the final field goal in regulation for the Tigers.
Jared Dunn made one of two free throws with 22.7 seconds left to give SCR-I a 33-30 lead.
Coach Kyle Ellison went to a box and one defense to cover up Hayes, and Knox County was unable to get a shot, calling a timeout with 5.5 seconds left. Hayes was able to catch the pass in the corner on the inbounds and was fouled as he hoisted the three-pointer over a double team.
Hayes opened the extra period with a three-pointer. Dunn had a couple of free throws before he found Kaleb Parkins open in the paint on the pick and roll for a score that put the Tigers on top 37-36 with 1:39 left to play. The Tigers defense then fell asleep and left Hayes open for a pair of three-pointers in the final minute to seal a 44-39 win.
Hayes finished with 29 points to lead all scorers.
Dunn led Scotland County in scoring with 14 points. Fromm and Woods each finished with eight as SCR-I fell to 5-12 on the year and 0-4 in the Lewis & Clark Conference.