With the city middle school basketball championship up for grabs, it was only fitting that the two combatants, the Eagles and Brown Middle School Dolphins, capped off the season’s final game with an epic finish in overtime to crown the best junior high program in Atlanta.
The Eagles showed true championship grit by mounting a late fourth-quarter rally, and then again in overtime as they defeated the Dolphins 49-46 to capture the Atlanta Public Schools middle school basketball title Saturday afternoon at Maynard Jackson High School.
“Our team has showed character the whole year. We played one possession at a time and came out on top,” said Inman head coach Derek Hooley. “Brown Middle School played a great game and they’re a great team. This was one of the goals they wrote down in October at the beginning of the season. They worked really hard everyday and didn’t give up.”
While the final results favored Inman, the opening stages told a far different story. At one point in the first quarter, the Eagles trailed 9-0 before putting together a run and cut the deficit to 11-9 at the end of the period.
Despite its many efforts, Inman was unable to draw even on the scoreboard until the game’s final minutes. The Eagles made it 38-38 with 2:55 remaining on clock. The score was all square at 40-40 as time expired in regulation.
It was a close affair in overtime, but pivotal turnovers by Brown led to its undoing and Inman walked off the court with the championship trophy.
“We had the game won, but mistakes got us. There were some things that we should’ve done that we didn’t do and it hurt us,” said Brown Middle School head coach Bijus Tarver.
Inman’s Evan Hill poured in a game-high 16 points to help his squad win the title. Teammate Avi Toomer added 10 points in the winning effort.