MARIETTA — Life is a game of inches, and the Marietta Indians were that close to winning a district championship Friday night.

MARIETTA — Life is a game of inches, and the Marietta Indians were that close to winning a district championship Friday night.

With the clock winding down in regulation, Marietta’s Coleton Taylor was given a golden opportunity with an open layup and a tie game at 62-62.

Unfortunately, the ball didn’t cooperate, and neither did the Valliant Bulldogs in overtime as Marietta was sent into the consolation bracket thanks to a 70-65 defeat at Marietta Gymnasium.

Both teams were neck-and-neck throughout the contest, as the Indians biggest lead of the first half was five points at 7-2 in the first quarter.

Valliant though erased the five-point deficit and evened things up going into the second at 13-13.

Through two ties and multiple momentum swings in the second quarter, the Bulldogs somehow managed to never fall behind, despite constant pressure at both ends of the court from Marietta.

The Indians did manage to take a 27-21 deficit with 1:35 left before halftime and cut it to two points going into the break at 30-28.

Valliant came out of the gates strong in the second half with a 6-0 run to lead 36-28 at the 5:12 mark of the third quarter.

However, the Indians fought back in a big way with a 13-4 run of their own to take only their second lead of the game at 41-40 with 1:40 left in the third.

The Bulldogs though wouldn’t be denied an advantage going into the fourth.

Marietta managed to tie the game at 43-43, only to see the Bulldogs score three points to close out the third and take the lead at 46-43.

Just over a minute into the fourth quarter, 

and the teams were once again tied, this time at 48-48 with 6:33 left. 

After a brief 50-48 lead for the Indians with 5:50 left in regulation, the game was tied again at 50-50 with 5:14 left.

With the game tied at 59-59, Marietta grabbed a 62-59 advantage with 1:23 left in regulation, and appeared to have finally put to rest the challenge from Valliant.

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs had one more ace up their sleeve as they tied the game at 62-62 with 1:06 left in regulation.

After the Indians stopped Valliant on its final possession of the fourth quarter, Marietta inbounded the ball and drove, putting up a shot that went off the rim.

Colton Taylor went up and grabbed the rebound, putting in what seemed to be a sure layup.

Unfortunately, he was cruelly denied by the iron, and the game went to overtime.

Valliant never trailed in the extra session, as Marietta scraped its way to within one point at 66-65 with  0:47 left in the overtime period.

But, a technical foul on Marietta combined with clutch free throw shooting by the Bulldogs sealed the district title for Valliant.

Bolton Fortune led the Indians with 21 points followed by Trace Stewart with 15 points. 

TaGunn Boyd-Matthews scored 10 points, with Coleton Taylor and Zane Nutter each scoring eight points.

Marietta will play in the regional consolation bracket Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. against the loser of the Kingston/Lindsay game at Kingston High School.

A victory would mean Marietta plays Friday.