SUWANEE — With his team trailing 45-43 against Region 7-AAAAAA rival Peachtree Ridge with 19.3 seconds left, Collins Hill senior Devin Mitchell had a chance to knot things up with a pair of free throws.
But his shot wasn’t there as both attempts caromed off the rim, giving Peachtree Ridge possession and a two-point lead as the seconds melted away.
Mitchell didn’t think he would ever have a chance at redemption, but he knew if he did, he wouldn’t miss again.
Just 19.3 seconds after his second missed free throw, Mitchell got the chance he hoped for and came through, burying a long 3-pointer from the left wing as time expired to lift Collins Hill to a thrilling 46-45 win over Peachtree Ridge on Saturday night.
“I was thinking I needed to hit those free throws,” Mitchell said, who scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. “We ended up having to press and foul but because of the miss, but fortunately, they missed their free throw and we got the ball back.”
The missed free throw was the front end of a one-and-one and gave the Eagles (11-9, 8-3) one more chance with eight seconds left.
Instead of calling a timeout, Mitchell called for the ball and was able to open himself up for the game-winner from well beyond the arc.
“I faked the screen to my right and hit a shot I have hit a million times in practice,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s heroics were needed as the Eagles carried a 39-34 lead into the fourth quarter only to see Amir Warnock provide some firepower for Peachtree Ridge.
Warnok, who led the Eagles with 19 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, scored eight of those in the fourth, including a three-point play with 21 seconds left to put the Lions (10-11,7-5) up 45-43.
Mitchell’s missed free throws came after Warnok put his team up, but the ensuing miss from the line by the Lions opened the door for Mitchell’s shot.
“We can’t do much more than what we did,” Peachtree Ridge head coach Keith Arrington said. “It was a contested 30 footer. I tried to convince the kids it wasn’t just that play but all the plays throughout the game. Every play counts.”
Neither team was able to grasp control as the largest lead by either was an 18-11 edge for the Lions early in the second quarter.
Peachtree Ridge led by four at the half, but the Eagles opened the third period with a 6-0 run, taking the lead at 25-23 when Mitchell scored after a Lion turnover.
The third period proved to be huge for Collins Hill as they outscored the Lions 15-6, getting help from the free throw line by going 8-for-8 in the quarter.
The Lions wouldn’t go away and fought back in the opening minutes of the fourth with a quick 4-0 spurt on baskets by Romelo White and Aaron Augustin.
Mitchell was the only Eagle to score in the fourth quarter and was able to put his team up 42-37 with 3:43 remaining, but Peachtree Ridge pulled back within one at 42-41 on consecutive offensive rebound putbacks from DeAngelo Gibbs.
The Lions also looked like they were going to reclaim the lead with 1:48 left, but a layup by Augustin was nullified by an offensive foul.
“He’s a heck of a player and hit a heck of a shot,” Collins Hill head coach Eric Nathan said of Mitchell. “He knew what he wanted. What a shot. I didn’t want to call a timeout to give (Peachtree Ridge) time to set up. I think we’re good when we’re in transition like that.”
The win was the fifth in a row for the Eagles and third straight in the closing seconds, coming fresh off Tuesday’s win against Duluth off a game-winner from Devin’s brother Jalen.
Devin Watson also had 10 points in the win for Collins Hill, while Jeremy James led the team in rebounds with eight.
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Peachtree Ridge girls 56, Collins Hill 41
Peachtree Ridge led by just three points after three quarters against Collins Hill but put together a solid fourth quarter to pull away for a 56-41 win.
The Eagles took the lead late in the third, but the Lions outscored the Eagles 20-8 in the decisive fourth period.
Kendra Purifoye came off the bench to lead the late surge for the Lions (11-10, 6-6) by scoring eight of her 15 points in the fourth.
Marisa Bowman also finished with 15 points for Peachtree Ridge, while Lorrie Cruse scored 12 with three assists. Justina Young also helped with nine points.
Collins Hill (11-8, 4-7) was led by 11 points from Sydney Brown and nine points from Kyra Dixon. Collins Hill
outrebounded the Lions 35-13, but couldn’t overcome 26 turnovers.