For the second time in as many match-ups, it took National Park College and Champion Christian College two overtime periods to settle the score in Hot Springs' newest and most-exciting athletic rivalry.
This time, it was the Nighthawks who reigned victorious with a 113-106 win Tuesday at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.
In a game aptly dubbed the "Battle of Bathhouse Row," National Park opened the first half with four three-pointers, building a lead as large as 11 points. The Tigers would claw back into contention, however, riding a 17-point first-half effort from Pargo Williams to cut the lead to 46-39 at halftime.
Midway through the second half, a technical foul situation resulting in six Tigers free throws allowed Champion Christian College to claw back within one point. With 5:37 to play, Champion Christian College regained the lead, 77-76. Both teams would continue to exchange scores, resulting in an 86-86 tie at the end of regulation.
Trailing by one point with one second remaining in the first overtime period, Nighthawks freshman Jarvis Ricks of North Little Rock sank one of two free throws to send the game into double overtime, tied at 97. There, the Nighthawks would break away for the seven-point victory, sealed with a celebratory dunk from freshman Lowell Washington of Bryant (pictured above).
Freshman KJ Corder of Hot Springs led the Nighthawks with 29 points--including seven three-pointers--and seven rebounds. Freshman Braylon Steen of Bryant scored 23 points and added 12 boards while Ricks added 23 points--including 13 during the two overtime periods--to help pace the Nighthawks to victory.
Pargo Williams led the Tigers with 27 points in the loss.
"We're young and right now we're still learning how to win ballgames," head coach Jason Hudnell said. "It's hard to win games when you're playing quality opponents. Champion is a great team with a good schedule and good athletes. We haven't learned how to finish games yet, but I feel like we're getting there. Games like tonight are where you learn. Hopefully we'll learn and get better moving forward."
National Park College is back in action Tuesday, January 16 at 7:00 p.m. as the Nighthawks travel to Williams Baptist College.
The Nighthawks and Tigers will meet once more for the rubber match on Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. at National Park College in Hot Springs.
XZero Sports would like to thank Aaron Brewer Photo for the pictures used in this story. For more photography from Aaron Brewer, please visit http://aaronbrewerphoto.com.