The goal for the Starkville Academy boys basketball's team all season has been to finish with a winning record.
They took one step closer Tuesday night.
Starkville Academy hung to a 46-40 victory over the Heritage Academy Patriots inside the Starkville Academy Gymnasium.
The Volunteers moved their record to 15-13 for the season.
"As soon as I went into the locker room, I erased 14 and put 15 up there," SA head coach Mark Alexander said. "That is one of our big goals. We want a winning season. That doesn't guarantee us one, but it's pretty close."
The Vols outlasted the Patriots 56-49 in double overtime a week ago in Columbus. Both games played out the same.
"About the only difference, it didn't go into double overtime," Alexander said. "Other than that, everything was about the same. I didn't think either team deserved to lose that game. Both teams fought hard. We were very, very fortunate to make a few more shots than they did."
SA took a 36-30 lead into the final quarter. The Patriots opened the quarter on an 8-1 run and took a 38-37 lead on Walker Brown's 3-pointer.
"It's like same song, different verse," Alexander said. "I keep telling them 'one of these games don't need to be this close.' Every single game is like this. I think all these close games help us. We have been in this situations so many times that we kind of have this calmness about us at the end."
SA's Carnail Minor answered on the very next possession with his own 3-pointer to give the Volunteers a 40-38 lead.
The Patriots tied it up at 40-40. It came down to the Volunteers making free throws. Brandon Sharp made four free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
"We were 11-of-24 from the free-throw line," Alexander said. "Brandon Sharp stepped up and made those when it counted the most. That says a lot about him to be able to step up and make those.
"Even though he's not a great free-throw shooter, there is nobody I would rather have the ball in their hands at the end of the game. He's very smart, he's going to make a good decision nine times out of 10 and I feel very confident with the ball in his hands."
Heritage was led by Cade Lott and Hudson Bean who each scored nine points.
Sharp led the Vols with 15 points. Minor added 11 and Caleb Merchant chipped in 10 points.
The Vols are back in action Friday night when Jackson Academy comes calling. Starkville Academy will honor its seniors as it is the last regular home game of the season.
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