Neither team ever got a big lead following the Tigers (7-18) jumping out to an early 6-0 advantage. From there, neither team held more than a four-point advantage, with Temple leading by two after the first, a 16-all tie at halftime and Bowdon taking a 25-23 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Tuesday's game shows the first-year coach what his Red Devils (11-11) are capable of as they are closing in on a state tournament berth.
"It says a lot. My guys are developing a lot and it's difficult to beat a team three times. They're playing well and the guys really gut it out. We played well and we're one game away from state. One game from state, one game from our destination," Smith said.
Twice late in the fourth quarter Temple got to within one point, but it could never get the game tied or take the lead. In the end, the Tigers just left too many opportunities out on the court.
"We don't want it to come down to the referees or a call. We had opportunities where we could have capitalized and put ourselves in a better position. I think our inexperience showed in spots. Our youth kind of showed in some spots. We still managed to play the right way and compete. I'm proud of them for that," Temple coach Steve Robinson said.
With eight seconds left, Chris Keith made the front end of a one-and-one to make it a three-point game before missing the second. Bowdon fouled Trevor Shell with three seconds left and the senior made the first before missing the second on purpose, but Marcus Thurman got the rebound to end the game.
Shell had another big night in his final game wearing a Temple uniform with 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Briahous McPherson added six points and nine boards with Rashaan Dobbs also scoring six.
Tuesday wrapped up Shell and Isaiah Strozier's prep careers, and Robinson knows they will be missed.
"You've got two seniors that are good basketball players, they're better kids. You can't really dictate how individuals go out once they come into your program. If I had it my way they would have everything under the sun because that's what they deserve, that's what they've worked for. Those two kids have committed since Day 1. They work hard, they didn't make excuses when it was convenient to make excuses. They had that work ethic and they carried on tradition," Robinson said. "This program is not going to be the same without them."
C.J. Brewer led Bowdon with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Juwan Maze chipped in with eight points.
The Red Devils will now take the trip to Jordan on Thursday to face Kendrick at 5:30 p.m. The winner will make the state tournament and the region semifinals, while the other's season will come to a close.
"Enjoy it while they can. [Wednesday] we'll watch a lot of film preparing for the next game against Kendrick. We're the fifth seed and they're the fourth. It's only one game difference. We're going to be ready. We're going to play hard and it's going to be exciting," Smith said. "To beat each one of the teams on our side two times is big, that's huge. We're still kind of gelling and figuring out what we can do."