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Berry 58, Olympic 54

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Berry earns top seed in SoMeck 4A

By Herb White
Correspondent

Berry Academy went the extra mile to earn the SoMeck 4A regular-season championship.

The Cardinals survived a last-second meltdown in regulation to slide past Olympic 58-54 in overtime Monday on their home court to earn the top seed in Tuesday’s league tournament.

“It’s big,” Cardinals coach Maurice Jones said. “It’s one of the few conference championships we’ve had so far. It’s huge for this program.”

To get there, Berry (20-3, 13-1) had to sweat out a double bonus and technical foul that forced overtime. Olympic guard C.J. Jackson, who pumped in 18 of his game-high 34 points in the fourth quarter, drained all four free throws with 5.2 seconds left to force a 47-all deadlock. Instead of sulking over the collapse, Berry gathered itself for overtime.

“That’s all you can ask for,” Jones said. “The guys rallied and pulled through.”

The Cardinals made it happen with Quendon Cottman tossing in six of his 13 points in overtime while limiting Jackson to three points. Cottman put Berry ahead for good on a basket with a minute left and a pair of free throws 23 seconds later to give the Cardinals a 56-52 advantage. Olympic (21-3, 11-3) pulled to within a basket on Malik Constantine’s hoop with 29.7 seconds left, but missed a couple of chances to extend the game.

“We just did not play well enough to win, bottom line,” Trojans coach Ty Baumgardner said. “That was disappointing considering what we were playing for, a chance to win a conference championship, or at least share it.”

Victory Harris added 11 points for Berry while Constantine added 13 for Olympic, which had only three players break into the scoring column.

Olympic6138207—54
Berry 1312101211—58

Olympic: C.J. Jackson 34, Malik Constantine 13, Parris 7.

Berry Academy: Quendon Cottman 13, Victor Harris 11, Lancaster 9, Brim 7, Powell 7, Murray 6, Christian 5, Faison 2.

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