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Shields ends Brantley’s season in triple overtime

It took three overtimes for the J.F. Shields Panthers to defeat Brantley 83-74 in the finals of the south regional last Friday night.

Despite the drama of the game, Brantley head coach Johnny Mitchell wouldn’t exactly call it “exciting.”

“I guess whether it was exciting or tormenting is all in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “If you were watching it neutrally, it was exciting.”

With the game knotted up near the end of the fourth quarter, the Panthers had a chance to win the game with a shot at the buzzer, but a miss caused some extra periods of play.

“I didn’t think we played well in the second half and allowed them to get out to a lead,” Mitchell said. “We went to a press and got some turnovers and made plays to get to overtime, but we dodged a bullet to get there.”

Both teams suffered through missed opportunities until the third overtime, when Shields pulled away for good.

Mitchell said he felt like foul trouble and exhaustion played a role in the final outcome.

“By the time we got to the third overtime, Tori Upshaw had fouled out and Wesley Person had been playing the whole game,” he said. “We were just mentally and physically exhausted as a team.”

Person led the Bulldogs with 31 points, while Chester Person had 13 points.

Both Devante Porter and Jared Wiley added 11 each.

The defeat brings Brantley’s final season record to 26-3, and despite the heartbreaking loss, Mitchell said he sees the season as a success.

“We finished 26-3, spent most of the year ranked in the top five, and got to the final eight for the second year in a row,” he said. “I don’t see how you can not call that a success. Our seniors had 65 wins in the last three seasons.”

“You’d certainly like to win a championship, but there are a lot of great teams that don’t win championships,” Mitchell added. “I’m really proud of what we did this year.”