The short trip is never easy.
The Beaufort High School boys basketball team arrived Saturday at rival Battery Creek High School only a week after routing the Dolphins at home. But Beaufort High coach Bruce Beasley knew better than to assume another easy victory.
For one, he said, the first one wasn't as easy as it looked. And scouting Battery Creek on Friday night in Ridgeland, he saw a team playing well and capable of winning a close game.
Beasley was right. The Eagles turned back an inspired Battery Creek effort, winning 53-49 in overtime after trailing much of the game to remain undefeated. Beaufort High improved to 5-0.
"With them being on a two-game win streak, I expected this kind of game tonight," Beasley said. "It was no surprise. And they played well in spots at our place."
Battery Creek led by double digits much of the first half and by 11 at halftime, its guards able to penetrate the lane and earn free throws. Beaufort High started the second half in a 3-2 zone, protecting the lane and forcing Battery Creek to settle for jump shots. The Eagles held the Dolphins without a field goal during the third quarter and trailed by only two.
"They couldn't come and get quick baskets," Beasley said. "They had to work for it."
But the Dolphins again pushed the margin, leading by eight with 2:37 remaining after two Eric Freeman baskets. They didn't score the rest of regulation. A set play in the final seconds didn't yield a shot after the Dolphins lost the ball out of bounds.
In overtime, Beaufort High continued to move the ball on offense and converted from the free-throw line.
Battery Creek coach Antoine Youmans, a night after he praised the Dolphins' ability to win a close game, said his players still had the confidence to play with Beaufort High the second time. He pointed to free throws helping the Eagles stay in the game and credited Beaufort High's clutch shooting late in the game.
"We fought hard from the beginning but just couldn't pull it out in the end," said Battery Creek guard Yuneek Crittendon, who led the Dolphins with 14 points.
A large, loud contingent of Battery Creek students energized their gymnasium, with the visiting crowd growing more vocal as the Eagles completed the comeback. Beaufort High guard Adonis Grant lifted his finger to his lips as he walked toward the home crowd after the final buzzer sounded.
The Eagles had silenced their rivals again -- but not before receiving a scare.
"We came in here big-headed, thinking we were going to win," Grant said.
Beaufort High boys 53, Battery Creek 49 (OT)
Beaufort High-- Kendrick Colvin 15, Otis McClain 10, Jawan Mack 8, Adonis Grant 7, Thomas Parker 6, Keion Marshall 4.
Battery Creek -- Yuneek Crittendon 14, Devontae Wilson 12, Eric Freeman 9, Adonis Williams 7, Raheem Cooper 3, Savon Scales 2, Jason Green 1, Miguel Crawley 1.
Battery Creek girls 69, Beaufort High 25
Battery Creek's girls basketball team knew it had the upper hand Saturday at home. But Dolphins coach Bernadette Ulmer didn't want her team to walk through the rivalry game.
"We still had to come out and play hard, play together," Ulmer said.
She received the effort she wanted. The Dolphins led 18-2 after the first quarter and used a 23-point burst during the third quarter to run away from Beaufort High. Daisja Cannon led the Dolphins with 23 points and Alisha Varela added 12.
Battery Creek improved to 5-1, with region foe Bishop England and a trip to Whale Branch next week.
Beaufort High -- Mattie Hibbs 8, Jasmine Wallace 7, Jordan Fields 4, Amber Britton 2, Monique Jones 1.
Battery Creek -- Daisja Cannon 23, Alisha Varela 12, Alex Bazemore 11, Ericka Alston 8, Khadijah Badger 6, Matalyn Dearsman 4, Elizabeth Ford 2.