Alexander called a timeout after Carter’s game-winner, but the Cougars couldn’t get another clean shot off before the final buzzer sounded.
Mikell Lands tied the game at 69-69 six seconds earlier for Alexander to give the Cougars, who battled through several lead changes in the second half, a chance to win it. But Carter had the hot hand and gave the Lions the win, completing a sweep after the Lady Lions knocked off the Lady Cougars 67-44 in the early game.
In the boys’ game, Alexander and Lithia went back-and-forth for the final 16 minutes, with the Lions taking a four-point lead late in the third on two Neil Phillips’ free throws only to watch the Cougars go back up by four on a 3-pointer and three-straight shots from the line by Karim Mawnenyega.
Alexander raced to a 13-4 lead before the Lions found their rhythm. Britton Walton had a big 3 for the Cougars with 1:32 left in the first period, but Lithia rallied and Johnathan Walker’ s 15-footer at the buzzer got the Lions within five at 16-11.
Lithia hit 6-of-10 from the foul line early in the second quarter and Carter capped an 8-2 Lion run by driving the lane through traffic for a layup with 4:22 left in the half that gave the Lions their first lead at 19-18 since early on and the game would stay close the rest of the way.
Alexander reeled off eight-straight points, five on Lamarcus Frazier’s putback and three-point play within a 30-second stretch to put the Cougars back up by six. But the Lions stormed back with jumpers in the final minute by Carter and Qunta Bedford and Lithia trailed 29-28 at halftime.
Walker led Lithia with 20 points, followed by Phillips’ 18 and Carter’s 12. Alexander’s Mawnenyega had a game-high 23 points. Frazier also hit double digits for the Cougars with 12.
In the girls’ game, Alexander came out firing like a team ready to play against Lithia’s aggressive and fast-paced attack.
Brooke Nail put the first points of the game up for the Lady Cougars, taking a foul while hitting a 3-pointer from the left side. Nail sank the free throw for the four-point play, giving Alexander a 4-0 lead.
Lithia’s Tobreshia Horn hit back-to-back shots from the field, the second a layup off a steal, as the Lady Lions pulled even.
Rachel Robinson responded with another 3 for the Lady Cougars midway through the first period and the game. Lithia ended the period on a 10-3 run to take a 19-12 lead.
The Lady Lions pulled away in the second period, outscoring Alexander 17-11. Horn and Tashara Jones had 3-pointers in the second for Lithia. Horn hit an 8-footer and added two more on a fast-break layup near the end of the second quarter to give the Lady Lions a 14-point lead at 35-21, their biggest lead of the half and took a 36-23 lead into the locker room.
Lithia opened the third with an 8-2 run to take full command. Alexa Walker’s putback with 6:26 started the run and Jones added four points, two on a 12-footer from the field and two more shots from the line.
The Lady Lions led by as many as 29 before both teams put in subs late in the game.
Jones was 11-of-15 from the line and finished with a game-high 26 points for Lithia. Horn added 15 points and Walker tacked on seven for the Lady Lions
Deijah Anderson led Alexander with 12 points, followed by Molly Brown with 11 and Deanna Dorsey with 10.