Sprayberry (23-5) led by as many as eight points in the first half, but Osborne (21-6) simply kept running, and in the end, the Yellow Jackets were unable to keep up.
It was the third time the teams had played this season. Sprayberry won both games during the regular season, but Osborne won when it counted the most.
Cardinals coach Emmett Rouse, who said he couldn’t describe how good it felt to win the region title, never worried about the outcome of the championship game.
“I’ve got 21 years in, and I’ve seen a lot of it,” Rouse said. “I know the hardest thing to do is beat someone three times.”
Sprayberry had dominated its opposition through much of the season, winning 22 of 23 since a 1-3 start in November.
Osborne led 17-16 at the end of the first quarter, but Sprayberry opened the second period with five straight points, including a 3-pointer by Armel Potter. Over the next few minutes, the Yellow Jackets pushed the led to 31-24 before Osborne picked up its pace and stormed back to within a point, 42-41 at the half.
The teams played nearly point-for-point in the third quarter. Sprayberry’s Jontae Williams made a layup and was fouled at the close of the period, and his three-point play kept the Yellow Jackets within one at 61-60.
Early in the fourth quarter, Osborne’s JaQuinton Thompson committed his fifth foul and left the game. A three-point play by Potter put Sprayberry up by two points, and after another basket, the Yellow Jackets’ lead was at four.
Osborne’s Tayriq Morris responded with four straight points to tie it at 67-all. The teams stayed within a possession of one another until Osborne’s D’Haire Haney made a free throw with 5 seconds on the clock, making the score 78-74.
Haney finished the game with a team-high 36 points.
Kyire Hogan added 17 points for the Cardinals, while Shaihem Hogan finished with 12 points.
Sprayberry was led by Potter’s 23 points. David Tshamala finished with 17 and Nkem Ojeh added 12.
Rouse said his team set two goals at the beginning of the season and accomplished one in winning a region title.
Now, they are out to do the other.
“I know the journey isn’t over,” Rouse said. “At the beginning of the season our goal was two things — a region championship and a state championship. Now, we’ve got one down and one more to go.”