By PAUL STURM ¤ Constitution-Tribune Sports Editor
TINA — Although it took a long time, in the end, last (Thursday) night's championship semifinals in the Carroll-Livingston Activities Association Tournament confirmed what round-robin, regular-season play had discerned.
Living out the lyrics of the still-oft-heard, early-1970s Bachman-Turner Overdrive rock music chestnut, the top two seeds in each gender division spent the evening "takin' care of business" with two of them "workin' overtime" as a long night of high school basketball set the pairings for Saturday night's CLAA Tournament title games.
In the "which of these doesn't belong" game of the night, boys' No. 1 seed Meadville smothered Norborne 77-35 in the evening's finale to earn a crack, in its last CLAA cage competition ever (or at least for the foreseeable future), at a fourth league tourney crown in a row.
That blowout contrasted starkly with the first two championship semifinals, each of which required a full eight minutes of extra action before girls' top seed Norborne and boys' No. 2 seed Southwest Livingston earned opportunities to play for the 2013 tournament's titles.
NHS' Lady Pirates, who needed an unlikely tying basket at the end of the first overtime to keep playing, tipped Hardin-Central 42-41 when Kaylea Wood made a free throw with two seconds to go in the second extra session.
Southwest Livingston's boys let a big first-half lead evaporate, but finally got past Hardin-Central 60-55 in two overtimes.
The other game of the night didn't necessitate overtime, but it was not firmly decided until the final 10 seconds as No. 2 girls seed Meadville, ahead by 20 in the third quarter, held on against Southwest Livingston for a 45-40 victory.
Saturday's girls' title game between the regular-season co-champions is slated for an approximately 6:45 p.m. tipoff. The boys' championship contest will follow at about 8:15 p.m.