With the host Tigers and Jacksonville Christian Academy trading baskets and the lead for most of the game, Cedar Bluff 8th grader Tyric Scales came through like a seasoned veteran in the closing moments to propel the Tigers to a 45-40 win.
The Thunder was in the process of protecting a one-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the contest when Scales rebound and put-back at 1:25 gave the hosts a 41-40 advantage.
The visitors came up empty on the next possession, and Scales jump shot with 28 seconds on the clock made it a three-point Tiger lead.
JCA turned the ball over with 24.7 left, and Tiger senior Rodney Guins sealed the victory with his basket at 21.1.
Tyric did a good gob at the end, as did Rodney, said Cedar Bluff head coach Joe Carpenter. Weve been stressing tight defense all season, and tonight we closed out a game that earlier in the season we would have let get away. We still need to work on our shooting, but were beginning to turn the corner.
"The biggest thing is that were starting to get into basketball shape after the football season lasted so long (several team members played in the Class 1A state title game on Dec. 9). These boys have a great attitude and they work hard. Weve got some tough games coming up right in a row next week, so that will be a good challenge for us.
Guins led the Tigers (3-6) with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Lucas Pruett contributed 10 points.
Luke May chipped in eight points and eight rebounds, while Jim Nelson added 10 rebounds and four assists.
Miles Weatherspoon scored 22 points for JCA.
The Thunder opened the game with a 7-0 run before Cedar Bluff came back to force an 11-11 tie after eight minutes.
Weatherspoon accounted for 11 of JCAs 13 second quarter points, but Pruetts eight points and Scales three-pointer with 0.5 on the clock helped the Tigers take a 27-24 lead into halftime.
The third period was a low-scoring affair, with Pruett, May, Terrell Irons and Guins contributing respective baskets to Cedar Bluffs 35-32 advantage heading into the final frame.
Guns bucket 10 seconds into the fourth quarter made it a five-point lead before Weatherspoons trey and Jesse Watts'basket tied the game at 37-37.
After May and Watts traded baskets for another tie, Weatherspoon nailed a foul shot to give the Thunder the lead with four minutes left.
That turned out to be the final JCA point, however, and Scales and Guins made their shots in crunch time to secure the Tigers third win.
CEDAR BLUFF (45) Guins 12, Pruett 10, May 8, Irons 7, Scales 7, Gossett 1.
JCA (40) Weatherspoon 22, Reid 8, Watts 8, Satcher 2