THE youth league season of Scott Balsar's Kennedy's Tours Shoalhaven Tigers hangs by a thread, after suffering a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to the Penrith Panthers.
At the Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre, the Cubs jumped out to a big lead 18-8 lead before the Panthers fought back, to go into the first break up 24-22.
The Panthers put their feet down in the second quarter, stretching their lead to seven (48-41) by the main break - an advantage that grew to as many as 16 midway through the third.
But the Cubs then went on a 19-5 run, in the final four minutes of the period, to go into the fourth quarter only down 68-66.
The black and golds then hit the front (79-78) for the first time since midway through the first quarter, when Kyle Leslie hit a three-pointer with 4.40 left to play.
The hosts then fought back and regained the lead before a Trent Hilaire basket with 34 seconds left tied up the scores (86-all) - sending the game to overtime.
In the first overtime, the visitors scored the first five points before two clutch free-throws by Lachlan Charlton (48 points) sent the game into double-overtime (96-all).
The second five minute period belonged to the hosts, as they outscored the Cubs 12-6, to secure the thrilling six-point win.
"Saturday was a great game of basketball, one which we had numerous chances to win in both regular and overtime," Balsar said.
"We went into the game saying it was our grand final because if we had won, we would have leapfrogged Penrith into the top six but a loss would virtually end of season - it's our most crushing blow of the season.
"All we can do now is win our remaining three games and hope results go our way, which could see us sneak into the top six.
"Regardless of what happens, I'm super proud of all the boys and the way they've played week in, week out.
"We've turned plenty of heads this season and proved we belong in division one."
In the courageous loss, in which 63 fouls were called during match, Leslie top scored for the Tigers with 27 points, while Gavin Costain contributed 25.
The Cubs, who sit two wins out of the finals in seventh with a 9-10 record, next travel to Sutherland.