It was the clutch late shooting of Jeff Hodges that lifted the Carrollton High School basketball team over rival Villa Rica in their first encounter in December.
Well a bit of déjà vu struck when the two teams met again on Tuesday as the senior propelled his Trojans to a thrilling 62-60 overtime road triumph over the Wildcats.
The two rivals spent the entire first half trading blow after blow as whenever one team seemingly grasped some breathing room for themselves, the other would immediately have an answer.
Clinging onto a tight 17-16 to start the second quarter, Villa Rica (7-8, 2-5 Region 7-AAAAA) started going to work inside with Phillip Zachery slashing his way to the rim to create scoring opportunity and big man Micah Hodges using his length to bring down offensive rebounds and create second-chance opportunities.
On the other end of the court, Carrollton (10-7, 7-2) was fueled by an offensive frenzy from forward Melvin Edwards. Burying a three right before the buzzer, Edwards brought his first half point total up to 20 as the Trojans gripped a slim 34-32 lead heading into the locker room.
The scoring would slow down for both ballclubs in the third quarter as defense started to prevail. A pair of treys from senior Trojan point guard Ricky Rodriguez allowed Carrollton to maintain a 44-40 edge entering the final period.
With Zachery dishing to teammates for assists and Hodges continuing to be a force inside the paint for VR, the Wildcats seemingly had complete control with a 54-49 lead with a minute left.
However, the resilient Trojans continued to fight as an Isaiah Lancaster putback brought them to within a score. Edwards would miss a would-be tying three but after coming down with the defensive rebound, VR’s Hodges pass to Caleb Smith ended up going out of bounds, giving Carrollton possession again.
With eight seconds remaining in regulation, almost the same exact time of his previous game-winner versus VR, Jeff Hodges sank a trey from the top of the key to send the contest into overtime tied at 54-alland send the capacity crowd into a frenzy.
Carrollton’s Hodges wasn’t finished as he immediately opened the extra period with another three to put the Trojans back up.
Tied 60-60, J. Hodges went to the line twice to a made one free throw apiece to give the visitors the slight advantage. A last ditch three from VR’s Smith to win the game missed the mark, allowing Carrollton to escape the “City of Gold” with the stunner.
Edwards led the Trojans with 25 points and six rebounds. Micah Hodges led for the Wildcats with 21 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.