After the Lady Tigers struggled from the free throw line in their 39-37 defeat, the Tigers watched their last four possessions end with turnovers as they dropped a 56-49 decision to visiting Rockmart, which swept its sub-region rival.
For Adairsville's boys, it marked the second straight narrow defeat following a loss Tuesday to Pepperell by five points.
"Obviously, that was a killer at the end," Tigers coach Jacob Travis said in regard to his team's turnover woes. "We've lost the last couple [of games] at the end."
Travis noted his team has to improve its play toward the end of ballgames but credited the Yellow Jackets for their defensive play.
"They did a good job mixing their defense against us," he said of Rockmart, which seamlessly moved from zone to man defensive schemes.
As a result, Adairsville couldn't break into the Yellow Jackets' lead once they pushed back in front in the third quarter.
Coming out of a timeout, Rockmart's R.J. Garrett drained a pull-up jumper and then connected on a 3-pointer to give his team a 37-33 lead. A three-point play conversion from Tay Twine gave the Yellow Jackets a 40-33 lead, which stood at 40-37 after the Tigers scored the final points of the third.
Adairsville got itself back into the game behind Austin Greenfield, who started in place of Roderic King. Greenfield sparked the Tigers throughout the game and in the fourth knocked down two shots from beyond the arc, the second one tying the game at 47-all.
Rockmart responded by going back ahead 52-47 following Twine's free throw with 1:28 left in the game.
Adairsville point guard Tyler Washington hit a pair of foul shots to keep it a one-possession game, and after Greenfield came up with a steal on the Yellow Jackets' ensuing possession, the Tigers had a chance to either tie the game or get within one.
Zack Thompson, however, broke up a pass intended for Austin Harrell, beginning a string of Adairsville miscues, and Rockmart sewed up the game by going 4 for 6 from the free throw line.
Twine scored a team-high 14 points for the Yellow Jackets and Garrett poured in 13 to help the cause.
Greenfield, who made four 3s on the night, led the Tigers with a game-high 15 points, and Harrell and Chanse Fuleki added 14 and 10, respectively.
Despite the loss, Adairsville's third straight, Travis knows his team can still get where it hopes to go.
"We're not hanging our heads. We're not feeling sorry for ourselves," he said. "We're gonna get there."
The Tigers fell behind 10-3 in the first but recovered to trail 13-8 by quarter's end.
In the second, Adairsville found itself down by seven again at 21-14, but Greenfield sunk a trifecta and later a pair of free throws to get the hosts within four, 23-19.
When Fuleki, Kyle Adams and Harrell completed a 6-0 Tiger run by each scoring a basket, Adairsville had taken a 25-24 lead -- though Garrett's score near the end of the half gave Rockmart the edge by one going into halftime.
Things were tight in the opening varsity game of the night, too.
Neither the Lady Tigers nor the Lady Yellow Jackets led by more than three points in the first half. Adairsville led at the start, but Rockmart scored eight of the next 12 points, including Alana Jones's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, and took an 8-7 lead into the second quarter.
Stephanie Kuhrt's six points initially kept the Lady Tigers afloat before last season's all-county rookie of the year -- Mallorie Collum -- got going. Collum tied the game at 12 with a three-point play and had another offensive putback minutes later to give Adairsville a 14-12 lead.
Jones scored to tie things up at the half.
Both teams doubled their output of the first half in the third, doing in one quarter what they had failed to do in the game's first 16 minutes.
Collum was again at the center of the Tigers' scoring, putting together another seven-point quarter. Adairsville scored three consecutive field goals, the last two from Collum, to take a 23-18 lead.
Rockmart, however, regained the lead on back-to-back scores from Balie Willis, including her 3 that made it 31-27. The Lady Yellow Jackets led 32-29 going into the fourth.
The Lady Tigers actually managed to outscore Rockmart in the final quarter, just slightly, but couldn't break any closer than the two-point deficit that matched the final margin due to missed chances at the free throw line.
With 2.1 seconds remaining, Adairsville had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line, but after a misfire on the first attempt, coach Kent Howard called a timeout and instructed Stormy Tomblin to miss the second, in hopes of securing a rebound and potential game-tying putback.
The Lady Yellow Jackets' Brionna Henderson came up with the board with 0.8 seconds left, and even after missing both of her foul shots, the Lady Tigers had no time to get a proper heave at the basket.
Of Adairsville's lone intentional free throw miss of the night, Howard had hoped to give Kuhrt an opportunity to crash the boards.
"[We] wanted to miss right," he said, which Tomblin did. "Stephanie Kuhrt is our best athlete. We put our best athlete to the right. ... Their girl did a good job of boxing out, got the rebound and sealed the deal."
The Lady Tigers' fate appeared to have been sealed throughout the fourth, though, as they failed to convert free throw attempts. Overall, Adairsville shot 7 for 23 from the foul line.
"It was a simple thing. They made free throws, we didn't. They attacked the glass, and we didn't," Howard said. "And that's the ballgame, my friend."
In addition, to their difficulties at the free throw line, the Lady Tigers also shot 32 percent from the field, which "doesn't give you much of a chance to win," Howard acknowledged.
Jones notched a game-high 19 points for Rockmart while Adairsville's Collum scored 15.
Both of Adairsville's teams return to action Tuesday when they visit Model. The Lady Tigers (5-13, 1-7 Region 7A-AA) tip off at 6 p.m. against the Lady Blue Devils, whom they have lost to two times this season -- including at the Darlington Thanksgiving tournament.
The boys' game follows at 7:30 p.m. with the Tigers (6-12, 3-5) hoping to pull off another upset over the Blue Devils after last month's 60-49 victory.