ALPHARETTA -- Meadowcreek boys head coach Billy Davis acknowledged his team has been involved in a lot of tight contests this season, usually ending up on the short end.
But in the past week, that trend has made a major turnaround for the Mustangs.
Barely a week after its upset of North Gwinnett in the Region 7-AAAAAA tournament, Meadowcreek once again delivered a knockout blow, this time ousting Chattahoochee 76-72 in overtime in the Class AAAAAA state tournament first round on Wednesday night.
Meadowcreek (9-17) now has another tough test in the Sweet 16 with a date at Wheeler next Saturday night.
"People look at our record and think that this team isn't any good at all," Davis said. "We've been in a lot of close games this year, finding a lot of ways to lose them. But since we've been in tournament play, we've been finding ways to win them.
"The way we started this season compared to the way we're playing now, I'm floating on cloud nine."
Meadowcreek pounced on the Cougars (21-8) early, leading 23-6 after the first and holding that margin midway through the second quarter before Chattahoochee began to fight back.
The Cougars, led by a 31-point night from Presbyterian commit Markus Terry, closed out the first half with a 9-0 run and opened the third with an 8-2 spurt to get back within two at 32-30 midway in the period.
But it wasn't until the 4:14 mark in the fourth quarter before the Cougars finally took the lead, going ahead 55-54 on a baseline drive from Marcus Sheffield.
Both teams had chances in the closing minutes to win in regulation, including a good look at the buzzer from Meadowcreek's Adrian Hicks that just missed, before heading into overtime knotted at 59-59.
Just like the opening minutes of the contest, Meadowcreek again took control early in the extra period, outscoring the Cougars 9-3 to go up 68-62 with 1:30 left.
The Mustangs were able to keep Chattahoochee at arm's length from the free-throw line, hitting 13 of 17 in overtime, but the Cougars still managed one last attempt to steal the win.
Trailing 74-72 with 10.8 seconds left, Terry attempted to drive down the right side of the lane, only to have the ball stolen by Austin Robinson with 3.2 seconds left.
Robinson would be fouled and sealed the deal by canning the two free throws, propelling the Mustangs into the second round.
"I told them (Chattahoochee) was going to make a run and when they do, we've got to be ready," Davis said. "We hung in there."
Robinson finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, including a perfect 6-for-6 on free throws in overtime.
Don Smith also had a big game for the Mustangs, tallying 19 points (11 in the first quarter) with five 3-pointers along the way.
Terrance Snelling also chipped in with 10 points and seven boards, while Hicks scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime period.
Sheffield finished with 22 points for the Cougars, while Trey Archambeau added 11 points and 10 rebounds, despite playing with his right wrist in a cast.