Cougars rally in 4th quarter to advance to semifinal

Mar. 1—EDINBURGH — After trailing host Edinburgh after each of the first three quarters, South Decatur outscored the Lancers 12-3 in the final eight minutes to rally for the 44-38 win in the sectional opener Wednesday.

South improves to 11-13 and advances to the second sectional semifinal against Jac-Cen-Del (10-14) Friday. Edinburgh ends the season at 11-11.

A free throw by South's Taylen Absher in the first minute of the contest got the Cougars on the scoreboard. Edinburgh opened with a bucket from Eli Smith. After a Drake Scaggs 3-pointer for the Cougars, Edinburgh got back-to-back bombs from Connor Ramey and Austin Brockman.

Jacob Scruggs answered with a 3-pointer, but the Lancers scored the final seven points of the quarter. Ramey's deep 3-pointer put Edinburgh up 15-7 after the first quarter.

Edinburgh scored the first five points of the second quarter to push the lead to 19-7. South held the Lancers to just 19 more points the rest of the game. Four straight points by Colby Rathburn started an 8-0 run for South.

After a bucket by Edinburgh's Rylan Londeree, South's Absher hit a 3-pointer and Scruggs hit a pair of free throws to close the deficit to 21-20 at the half.

A steal and lay-up by Scruggs opened the third quarter and gave the Cougars their first lead since it was 4-2. The Lancers answered with five straight points. After a bucket by Scruggs, Londeree scored five straight points for the Lancers.

A 3-pointer from Jaylynn McMurray and bucket in the lane by Scruggs cut the deficit to one before Edinburgh's Brockman closed the third quarter with a bucket on the break. After three quarters, Edinburgh led 35-32.

Four free throws by Scruggs opened the fourth quarter and put the Cougars up for good at 36-35. Absher's rebound bucket followed by free throws from Scruggs and Rathburn pushed South's lead to 42-35.

Edinburgh's final bucket was a 3-pointer from Ramey with less than 30 second to play to cut the deficit to 42-38. A Scruggs steal and lay-up put the finishing touches on the South victory.

For the Cougars, Scruggs finished with 23 points followed by Rathburn eight, Absher six, Scaggs three and McMurray three.

Ramey led Edinburgh with 17 points. Londeree finished with 10 points. Brockman had five points. Lucas Seegers, Bailey Totten and Smith all had two points.

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