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Cougars outlast PLAS Patriots in overtime for 51-49 victory in Troy

Justin McLaughlin hit a layup as time expired in regulation, but the No. 10 Pike Liberal Arts Patriots could not hold on in overtime, falling to the Crenshaw Christian Cougars 51-49 Monday evening in Troy.

“I was so proud of the level of intensity they had out here tonight,” PLAS head coach Mike Barbaree said. “That is completely different than what we saw out of these boys a week ago at Taylor Road.”

The Patriots (2-2) held a lead in the game until Crenshaw grabbed a 38-36 lead with 3:36 remaining in regulation. A foul, technical foul, three missed free throws and a missed field goal later McLaughlin sent the game to overtime.

The Cougars and Patriots battled in the extra frame, but Crenshaw held off a late Patriot surge for the win.

The game came down to free throws. The Cougars were 12-of-20 from the charity stripe and the Patriots were 10-of-21 from the free throw line on the night.

“We are just not in the shape we need to be in to make those shots and free throws in the fourth quarter,” Barbaree said. “But we are going to get there. They played their hearts out tonight they just have to get their heads up and get ready to play again tomorrow night.”

The Patriots and Ross Hixon opened the night on fire. Hixon connected on his first two three-pointers to give the Patriots a 6-0 lead and PLAS went up 10-0 before the Cougars could react. But Crenshaw settled down and made it 12-10 before the first quarter ended.

The Patriots stretched the lead back to 25-17 before halftime and the Cougars cut that lead to 33-28 at the end of the third quarter.

The Cougars made their push in the fourth quarter and took their lead with 3:36 remaining in the game. A flurry of events allowed the Patriots to tie the game and send it to overtime.

McLaughlin was the hero who sent it to overtime and he led the Patriots with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Hixon added 11 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal. Douglas Hawkins, Alex Adams and Jared Henderson each had five points. Hawkins had four rebounds and one steal. Adams had five rebounds and two assists and Henderson had four rebounds and one assist.

The Patriots head to Greenville for a region battle with Fort Dale tonight before hosting No. 4 Lee-Scott.