Category Archives: Game Stories

No. 5 Sequoyah snaps No. 1 South Cobb 17-game winning streak behind Deshaun Robinson heroic performance

No. 5 Sequoyah 67, No. 1 South Cobb 56

It’s not often in Sequoyah basketball history that the Chiefs could go toe-to-toe and match fire power with the elites in the state. From Adam Benton to Tyler Deihl to Sean Tate, the Chiefs have seen high scoring guards pour through the doors. Mercer-signee Jacksen Greco tops them all, recently surpassing the historic trio for the all-time scoring record in Chiefs history but aside from his scoring prowess he is the front man for No. 5 Sequoyah (15-4, 9-2) who fields likely their best team in school history and have been knocking on the door of becoming a state contender. On Tuesday night, the Chiefs barged through the door with a 67-56 win over No. 1 South Cobb (18-2, 11-1) snapping the Eagles’ 17-game winning streak and pushing Sequoyah’s to 10-straight. Greco got his fill, scoring 17 points but it was 6-foot-5 senior Dashaun Robinson, who was showered with MVP chants, that took over in the fourth quarter and lifted the Chiefs past the Eagles to notch Sequoyah’s biggest win in school history and give them momentum but more importantly confidence heading into the home stretch of the season that they can beat the best of the best.

Winning 78-68 in their first meeting, South Cobb started the game with star sophomore Zocko Littleton Jr. on the bench. Once he checked in, the sharpshooter immediately drilled a three and sparked a 7-0 run before Arthur Parker hit a baseline jumper for Sequoyah to settle the score at 7-4 in favor of the Eagles.

6-foot-7 Illinois State-signee Emon Washington hurt the Chiefs early and often. Attacking from the high post, Washington scored nine points and put the Chiefs in foul trouble. Trailing 12-9 at the 2:49 mark, Greco was sent to the bench with his second foul but Sequoyah’s bench highlighted by Parker and sophomore Dylan Wolle combined for eight points to keep the Chiefs tight, ending the first quarter down 17-15.

Back on the floor, Greco sparked a momentum shifting 13-0 run on an off-balance runner.

A dunk from Ayden Watson and a Robinson bucket inside gave the Chiefs the lead 23-21, their first since 2-0 and a lead they would never relinquish. Donovan Shipp capped the stretch with a layup to make it a 30-21 advantage at the 2:46 mark before Raymond Baka ended the drought.

Sequoyah doubled up the Eagles in the frame, outscoring South Cobb 20-10 to take a 35-27 lead into halftime as the Chiefs held Washington scoreless in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, South Cobb turned up the heat by pressing but sans one ineffective possession, the Chiefs quickly regained their flow and kept their lead in double figures behind a Robinson put-back and Myles McGee kiss off the glass.

South Cobb couldn’t gain any ground after falling behind and traded buckets, finding themselves down 49-39 with just eight minutes remaining as a spirited War Lodge crowd made things tough.

The Eagles found life on the shoulders of Washington, who threw down a put-back dunk, two of his game-high 23 points, to cut the lead to 51-45 with 6:19 remaining, but from that point on the Chiefs did just enough to slowly eke the lead out while Washington continued to dominate inside.

Negating Washington’s impressive play was Robinson. Entering the game averaging 8.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks, the long-armed energy giver made every play down the stretch scoring 10 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter and finishing with a double-double of 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocks.

Robinson put the stamp on his heroic performance as he blocked a dunk attempt off a steal and then forced a South Cobb turnover seconds later, energizing the home crowd and all but dousing the Eagles’ hope of a comeback as the clock read 63-54 with just 60 seconds remaining. Robinson, who went 7-of-7 from the foul line including 6-for-6 in the fourth quarter, finished his night to MVP chants in an effort that won’t soon be forgotten.

Watson finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds while Shipp joined the collective effort on the glass with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

Littleton was held scoreless in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 points.

 

Top Performers

Sequoyah
Dashaun Robinson – 19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks
Jacksen Greco – 17 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Ayden Watson – 9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist
Donovan Shipp – 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals

South Cobb
Emon Washington – 23 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 blocks
Zocko Littleton – 11 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal
Raymond Baka – 6 points, 5 rebounds
Da’Quan Riggins – 6 points, 2 rebounds

No. 1 Grayson uses Schieffelin, 22-8 third quarter to blow past No. 2 Shiloh

No. 1 Grayson 72, No. 2 Shiloh 60

Region 8-AAAAAAA has quickly become the mecca of high school basketball in Class 7A, with No. 1 Grayson (14-1), No. 2 Shiloh (15-1), No. 6 Newton (13-3) and No. 10 Archer (12-5) all ready to take on all challengers. While all four teams have realistic visions of being the last group standing in Macon come March, the march to Macon begins within their region as seeding for the Region 8 tournament is imperative. Ranked 10th in the nation by MaxPreps, Grayson entered Friday’s game already with no room for error after losing 84-80 in overtime to first-place Newton last month while Shiloh came in red-hot and undefeated, clawing their way to the No. 2 spot after opening the season unranked.

In front of a sold-out crowd in Loganville, Grayson withstood a handful of first half runs to finally put away the Generals 72-60, leading throughout.

Grayson got off to a quick start and led 7-3 following an Ian Schieffelin three.

Shiloh however answered back as Caleb Golden scored seven of his 11 points in the opening frame and brought the Generals to within 13-12 at the 3:18 mark after Shiloh’s full court pressure resulted in some easy looks.

Coach Geoffrey Pierce dipped into his bench and brought on shooter Quinones Corpman who immediately cashed in a corner three off a skip pass from Mississippi State-signee Deivon Smith to give Grayson some cushion at 18-14 with 2:35 left to play in the first quarter.

The Rams carried a 23-16 lead into the second quarter as Schieffelin scored nine points and hurt the Generals on the glass.

Grayson extended their lead to 31-20 at the 4:34 mark and had the building ready to erupt, but once again Shiloh got up off the mat and answered back with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 34 as James Little hit two threes during the stretch.

Looking for their first lead of the game, Shiloh was denied as Schieffelin closed out the half with an And-1 putback to give the Rams a 36-34 advantage at the midway point.

Grayson landed two sharp jabs and had Shiloh woozy in the first half, but the Generals counter punched. In the second half however, the third quarter specifically, it was when the juggernaut Rams landed their haymaker, outscoring Shiloh 22-8 to bust open the game.

A gritty post move from Josh Smith was part of an 8-0 run that made it 44-34 at the 6:14 mark of the third.

Trying to once again dust themselves off, Shiloh used physical defense to lead to a Little layup.

Shiloh could not however slow down their former All-State star Winthrop-signee Toneari Lane, who broke out in the third quarter to score eight of his 12 points – 10 coming in the second half to help Grayson gain a 58-42 lead after three quarters.

Shiloh outscored Grayson 18-14 in the fourth, but the damage had already been done. Schieffelin amassed 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks while Caleb Murphy was consistent throughout with 17 points. Josh Smith scored 8 points and Deivon Smith tallied 8 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal.

The Generals were led by Jordan Mitchell’s team-high 12 points, six coming in the fourth quarter.

Top Performers

Grayson
Ian Schieffelin – 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks
Caleb Murphy – 17 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block
Toneari Lane – 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
Deivon Smith – 8 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal
Josh Smith – 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal

Shiloh
Jordan Mitchell – 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Caleb Golden – 11 points, 2 assists, 1 steal
James Little – 10 points, 3 rebounds
Zawdie Jackson – 8 points, 4 assists, 1 steal
Anthony Canada – 7 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
Zaron Jackson – 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal

Smith shines in No. 2 Sandy Creek win at No. 5 Trinity Christian

No. 2 Sandy Creek 60, No. 5 Trinity Christian 47

Separated by just 9.3 miles, Friday night’s Top 10 showdown was the first time Class 4A No. 2 Sandy Creek (7-3) and Class A-Private No. 5 Trinity Christian (9-5) had met on the hardwood. In a packed bandbox, five-star 6-foot-9 junior Jabari Smith led his Patriots into battle against Trinity Christian’s athletic backcourt and lengthy frontcourt.

Trinity Christian, powered by the Dominican trio of 6-foot-7 senior Giancarlo Bastianoni, 6-foot-3 senior Raul Arias and 6-foot-4 junior Isaac Brito, got on the board first with a Bastianoni baseline jumper off a Brito assist.

Bastianoni asserted himself inside early, scoring nine of his 15 points in the opening quarter but with less than two minutes to play, Sandy Creek edged ahead and seized control of the lead as Deshon Proctor muscled his way to eight early points.

Sandy Creek led 16-13 after the first quarter as Smith contributed four points and set the tone defensively with three blocks.

The Patriots would nurse their lead the final 24 minutes, slowly extending it before the Lions would trim back into the deficit. Sandy Creek led 24-15 before Brito challenged Smith at the rim to end an 8-2 run.

Riding Smith, Sandy Creek pushed their lead to 32-21 with 56.5 seconds left in the half and had their sights set on a double-digit lead heading into the final two quarters but instead, the Lions closed with a flurry, sparking a 7-0 run as Michael Morge drilled a three off the bench to wake Trinity Christian from the doldrums and help bring the halftime score to 32-28.

With Smith sitting at 12 points, Coach Will De La Cruz turned to Brito to defend the nation’s fifth-ranked player in the 2021 class. Giving up five inches, Brito bodied up and played physical. He baited Smith into his third foul at the 7:08 mark as the Lions stilled trailed by four points.

Trinity Christian sliced the Patriot lead to 35-34, the closest they had been since the first quarter, but a Daryl Rice layup and a subsequent Smith And-1 dunk quickly pushed the Sandy Creek lead back to six at 40-34 with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter.

The Patriots took a 44-36 lead into the fourth quarter as the Lions began to run out of steam, playing just six players. Trinity Christian made one last mini-run as they drew to within six at the 5:54 mark following a Bastianoni bucket inside.

Smith picked up his fourth foul 20 seconds later, but the Lions could not capitalize as the Patriots finished on a 14-7 run to close out a 60-47 road win. Smith took over down the stretch with nine of his game-high 26 points coming in the fourth while finishing with a double-double, collecting 14 rebounds and 6 blocks. Matt Williams hurt the tired Lions in the fourth with his energy, creating second chance opportunities on the glass while Brian Branch chipped in four late points as insurance.

My Take

Sandy Creek’s Jabari Smith is as good as advertised. Smith is a well-rounded player that can play inside and out. There aren’t many 6-foot-9 big men that are run off flare screens for threes but it’s a wrinkle that Coach Jon-Michael Nickerson can deploy to get his star open looks all over the floor. Smith’s defense hindered Trinity Christian’s downhill approach. Even though he finished with 26 points, Smith had to work for every point. The Lions played him straight up with Isaac Brito at times while other times digging down with a double team. Smith picked up an early technical foul after blocking a shot away but for the most part did a good job of keeping his head and not letting Trinity Christian’s physical approach take him out of his game. Deshon Proctor finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds, eight of his points in the opening quarter. Proctor has cut up his body even more and is a physical presence down low and a trusty worthy scorer up close. He also made a few nice passes that led to assists. Undersized 5-foot-8 point guard Daryl Rice had a few nice moments, his best coming in the third quarter with five points. I felt like Sandy Creek’s most impactful guard was 6-foot quarterback Matt Williams. The senior amassed 4,093 yards on the football field and while he may not be “the man” like he is on the gridiron, he still brings over invaluable toughness and a motor that doesn’t quit for the Patriot backcourt. Williams made back-breaking play after back-breaking play in the fourth quarter as the fatigued Lions couldn’t keep up. Williams did a great job of rebounding, especially on the offensive end earning a handful of second chances. Williams has a nose for the ball and on Friday, a knack for making winning plays. He finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

Trinity Christian was impressive in my first look. Their backcourt is big, athletic and aggressive, always looking to push the tempo and get downhill. 6-foot-4 junior Isaac Brito was the alpha male for the Lions. He is an elite athlete that plays above the rim and always is trying to find a way to get into the paint. His athleticism and toughness allow him to be an effective defender. He spent a good chunk of the game in one-on-one coverage on Jabari Smith and frustrated him at times, using his body well to refuse Smith deep post position. Brito finished with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 1 block as a high-usage guard that was asked to do a lot on both ends. Giancarlo Bastianoni was the second source of offense, but he was winded come the fourth quarter. Trinity Christian played just six players with only Michael Morge seeing the floor for a few minutes off the bench. Their short bench will play a role in how deep they can go at state, especially against teams that can shuffle guys in and out, press or can just get the Lions in foul trouble. The Patriots pressed early on and took some body shots at the Lions to make them expend some more energy earlier than they would have liked. Back to Bastianoni however, the big man is skilled and understands how to play the game around the rim. He is patient in the paint and uses his frame well and he has range that extends out to the three-point line. He came out with a big first quarter but his impact waned as the game went on. Bastianoni could be a good fit for a program that likes to operate their big men in the high post. If D-I schools don’t materialize, which they likely will, a D-II program will be getting a plug-and-play post.  North Georgia-signee Brady Burnett was rendered ineffective with two points. He did not have many opportunities to affect the game. When he’s involved, Burnett is a well-rounded forward that can produce both inside and out. Raul Arias was also quiet with 4 points. Sharmari Reed, a Kennesaw State football-commit, is another athletic guard that makes his biggest impact defensively. When the Lions are clicking, they are impressive getting to the rim but with how Sandy Creek shut down a majority of the driving lanes, they will need some consistent floor spacers to emerge against teams that can pack the paint.

Top Performers

Sandy Creek
Jabari Smith – 26 points, 14 rebounds, 1 steal, 6 blocks
Deshon Proctor – 10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Matt Williams – 7 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists
Daryl Rice – 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists

Trinity Christian
Isaac Brito – 19 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Giancarlo Bastianoni – 15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals, 1 block
Sharmari Reed – 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals

Rutledge keys balanced attack in No. 7 Franklin County win over Jefferson

No. 7 Franklin County 71, Jefferson 63

Franklin County vs. Jefferson

What difference a year makes.

Tuesday night’s Region 8-AAA bout between Jefferson (4-5, 0-2) and No. 7 Franklin County (9-1, 3-0) pitted two teams with realistic goals of making noise in the state tournament. Last year’s postseason went in different directions as the Dragons finished 17-11 and lost in the first round to Westminster 53-50 while the Lions, ousted in the region tournament, had to rely on the power ratings system to sneak into the postseason where they had a Cinderella run, finishing just 15-14 but taking a trip to the Elite Eight before falling 60-58 at Dawson County. Fast forward 10 months later and Franklin County is far from being labeled an underdog anymore, off to their best start in over a decade and now regarded as one of the favorites to win Region 8.

Still getting used to playing with a target on their back, the Lions would have their hands full with 6-foot-8 Navy-signee Jacob Radaker. All-State senior guard Titus Brown got Franklin County off to a hot start, scoring seven of his team-high 21 points in the first quarter including a three-ball off an assist from running mate Micah Roebuck that made it 10-4 in favor of the Lions.

Minutes later, Brown returned the favor helping Roebuck get a clean look at a three in the corner to give the Lions a 14-8 lead after one period of play.

Owen Parker provided the Dragons with a lift in the first quarter and his energy around the basket became infectious as 5-foot-7 water bug Kam Robinson began to squirt into the lane and cause problems for Franklin County’s perimeter defense. His layup cut the lead to 19-18, but the Lions responded with an 8-1 run as the defense tightened the screws and found points in transition off a Roebuck layup and eventually pushed the lead to 27-19.

Spencer Darby ended the Jefferson drought with an offensive rebound and pull-up jumper.

Roebuck swooped in for a tough layup with 35 seconds left and on their final possession, the Lions dug out an offensive rebound off a loose ball scramble which led to a Qua Jones three at the buzzer to build the lead to 33-24 at the half.

Franklin County extended their lead to 40-27 at the 6:15 mark of the third quarter on a Brown three from the top of the key before Radaker finally awoke and started to dominate around the basket. The D-I big man sparked a 10-2 run which brought the score to 42-37 with 4:06 remaining and finished with 11 of his game-high 24 points in the frame, but it was 6-foot-3 sophomore post Keylan Rutledge who played neutralizer for the Lions.

The nimble wide bodied red-head scored nine points of his own in the quarter to give Franklin County a 54-46 lead after three. As Robinson and Radaker continued to attack the paint and draw the Dragons closer and closer, Rutledge provided body blows to stymy the comeback.

Jefferson had the lead cut to five on numerous occasions but Rutledge’s tough play kept them at arm’s reach as a crafty face up step-through, two of Rutledge’s 20 points, gave the Lions a 63-56 lead at the 4-minute mark.

The two teams traded stops and buckets down the stretch as free throws loomed large. Franklin County shot 20-of-34 from the line but made them when they needed to as Brown went 6-of-8 in the fourth quarter to ice the game as the Lions closed out a 71-63 victory, leading wire-to-wire.

My Take

Having a target on your back isn’t for everyone. Following a season-opening 67-58 loss to Class 7A Mill Creek, I wasn’t sure how the Lions would respond. Was last year’s deep playoff run simply a case of getting hot at the right time? Or was this senior-laden group seriously ready to handle the pressures of being one of Georgia’s best teams in Class 3A? Nine-straight wins answers that question pretty quickly. Winning the Bearden Border Wars Championship over Byrnes, SC has helped springboard the Lions into continued success against Georgia’s stiff competition. With Morgan County still figuring out its young pieces, moving to 3-0 in Region 8-AAA is crucial as the Lions keep pace with No. 5 Hart County. The backcourt of seniors 6-foot Titus Brown and 6-foot-1 Micah Roebuck is one of 3A’s best. Brown is a great finisher in the lane and is aggressive when getting to the basket, not giving up his dribble when he first meets resistance and instead able to back down and maneuver his way to the cup after checking all angles. He finished with a team-high 21 points and came up big in the fourth quarter by coolly knocking down free throws. Roebuck chipped in with 18 points as a jump shot first combo guard that has enough physicality to finish at the rim. Titlan Wells, the third key senior guard, isn’t as polished offensively as Roebuck or Brown but makes up for it with his hustle and defensive mindset. He finished with 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. The X-Factor for Franklin County was none other than 6-foot-3 sophomore post Keylan Rutledge. When I first saw Rutledge last year, he was an interesting looking player, not sure what to expect out of him but as a freshman you could tell he knew how to play the game and had quick feet for a man his size. On Tuesday night, Rutledge was nothing short of tremendous, especially considering his matchup with 6-foot-8 Navy-signee Jacob Radaker. Rutledge was patient on the low block and displayed great footwork. He hit baby hooks, turnaround jumpers and showcased great touch on his passes. Rutledge has an advanced feel for how to play on the low block and use his body. If Rutledge can consistently play like he did on Tuesday, he is what can help Franklin County play at a championship level. That third scorer is paramount to the Lions’ success. Franklin County as a team runs tremendous sets that get clean looks. They love back cutting from the baseline and Coach Jason Shaver is a wiz with his ATO play calling.

Jefferson has played a tough schedule thus far that will prepare them for the rigors of the middle of the season and beyond. They have gone 2-1 vs. 7A schools and 1-1 vs. 6A schools but find themselves 0-2 in the region. Now that football players have returned, the Dragons should round into form over the next couple weeks. Jacob Radaker was quiet in the first half but showed why he’s going to Navy in the second, posting 24 points and 14 rebounds. He is long and has a soft touch inside. He didn’t float out to the three-point line much and anchored himself in the paint where he knew he had an advantage. The Dragons were held to just 4 threes as Franklin County clogged the lane on any drive and kick opportunities. 5-foot-7 junior Kam Robinson is lightning quick with the ball and excels at getting into the teeth of the defense. He had 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. If he can knock down threes on a regular basis it will open up even more driving lanes. Owen Parker gave a nice spark in the first quarter and finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds. His activity inside the paint led to second chance opportunities for the Dragons. Jefferson’s most interesting player was 6-foot-3 sophomore Malaki Starks. Recruited as an athlete on the football field that plays quarterback, running back and corner back with offers from Florida, UGA, Georgia Tech, LSU, Tennessee and South Carolina, Starks didn’t resemble anything of a sophomore. Starks has a college body already and is physical specimen. He didn’t show much offensively with 4 points, but he had 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal and can cause havoc with his athleticism especially on defense.

Top Performers

Franklin County
Titus Brown – 21 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
Keylan Rutledge – 20 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Micah Roebuck – 18 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal
Titlan Wells – 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals

Jefferson
Jacob Radaker – 24 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
Kam Robinson – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
Owen Parker – 9 points, 5 rebounds
Malaki Starks – 4 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal

Whitehead triple-double, 12-0 run sends No. 5 Woodland-Stockbridge past Jones County on Senior Night

No. 5 Woodland-Stockbridge 65, Jones County 58

Woodland-Stockbridge vs. Jones County

Rescheduled due to a phantom snow storm, No. 5 Woodland-Stockbridge (20-4, 11-2) held Senior Night on Thursday as the Wolfpack welcomed in Region 4-AAAAA foe Jones County (16-8, 8-5). Having their 17-game winning streak snapped on Monday against No. 2 Eagle’s Landing, Woodland looked for a season sweep of the Greyhounds and in the process, ignite a new streak.

A slow pace set the tone early as both teams looked to be patient when finding their offense. Woodland took a 4-0 lead before Jameson Bryant attacked the basket and got Jones County on the board.

Jalen Mason helped the Wolfpack to a 9-2 lead, hitting a three then assisting to Curtis Perdue on a fast break. Woodland finished the quarter with a flurry, scoring seven points in a minute with Jalen Crawl hitting a three, Dewayne Chester a layup and Perdue a tip-in to push Woodland ahead 19-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Trying to weather Woodland’s storm, Bryant continued to assault the paint and scored six of his team-high 14 points in the quarter but the Wolfpack still maintained control.

Unsigned 6-foot-8 senior Rahim “Sincere” Whitehead dominated the paint and cleaned up misses inside as one of his numerous put-backs gave Woodland a 21-14 lead at the 4:41 mark.

Off the bench, Joe Jackson sparked Jones County with 10 of his 14 points coming in the second quarter as he knocked down two threes and was active on the offensive glass.

Woodland closed the half up 31-27 as Mason’s defensive prowess caused issues for the Greyhounds, picking up four steals over the first 16 minutes including a late pilfer and assist to Tyrek Washington.

Eager to make his mark, DeArco Pitts carried Jones County during the third quarter with his ability to create his own shot off the dribble. Pitts knocked down two mid-range jumpers and Bryant finished inside to give the Greyhounds a 33-31 advantage at the 6:49 mark.

Minutes later, Marquis Jackson collected a rejected shot and wriggled around the baseline for a jumper to make it 35-34 with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Pitts struck with his playmaking ability and hit Jackson for a bucket to extend Jones County’s lead to 40-36 with 2:30 left to play and saw the lead grow to 44-38 but Mason nailed a pull-up three at the buzzer to bring Woodland to within 44-41 at the end of three.

Back-and-forth the Wolfpack and Greyhounds went in the fourth quarter as Jackson stopped on a dime at the 5:23 mark to give Jones County a narrow 50-48 lead.

But from that point on, Whitehead took over the game. Finishing with a triple-double of 10 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks, Whitehead scored inside to make it 54-50 then scored on a put-back, blocked a shot and advanced the ball to Chester for a spinning layup to cap a 12-0 run that surged the Wolfpack ahead 60-50 with 2:33 remaining.

Down but not out, Coach Dennis Woolfolk’s group responded.

Chavis Mathis found Tre Dean for a three to make it 60-55 with 2 minutes left before Jackson cashed in from deep to cut the lead to 60-58 with 1:19 remaining on the clock.

In the midst of an 8-0 run, Perdue answered the bell on his Senior Night to put a close to Jones County’s comeback bid, canning a three in the corner with 61 seconds left to make it 63-58, giving Perdue a game-high 20 points as Woodland closed it out 65-58 after a Chester bucket.

My Take

Region 4-AAAAA has proven to be one of the deepest and most competitive regions in the state over the past few years. Both teams chase No. 2 Eagle’s Landing (19-3, 13-0) in the standings but both teams will be dangerous come state tournament time. Woodland-Stockbridge has quick guards that have some explosion to the hoop. Jalen Mason did some of his best work defensively and showed he could knock down the long-range shot by hitting two threes. Dewayne Chester was lightning quick with the ball in his hands and finished with 4 assists. Curtis Perdue netted nine points in the first quarter and was steady throughout. He’s a solid shooter that has some quick twitch when getting to the rim. The most impressive player however was 6-foot-8 unsigned senior Rahim “Sincere” Whitehead. Though it might sound crazy to say, Whitehead played every inch of his frame and let his size and presence impact the game. While some posts can play smaller than listed, Whitehead had no problem attacking rebounds and defending the rim. He isn’t a high-flying athlete but Whitehead has a sturdy build and moves well. He knows what he is best at and does everything you want out of a big man. He posted up well with a strong base and had his hands on every rebound in his area. With 10 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks, Whitehead was dominant. He didn’t have to display a ton of offense on the block as the majority of his points came on put-backs or dump offs though he had one strong move from the left block heading into the lane. Whitehead should be viewed as a valid D-II option for programs looking for a hardnosed throwback low post presence.

A lack of size hurt Jones County tonight along with Bryson Wooten still recovering from a foot fracture. I loved how hard 6-foot-2 senior Jameson Bryant played for the Greyhounds. It was to no surprise that I found out he was a football player. He had a tenacity when putting his head down and getting to the rim and when attacking rebounds. He’s got an explosion to the basket and can finish amongst the trees. Bryant tallied 14 points, 8 rebounds and 1 block while Joe Jackson had 14 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block off the bench. Jackson shined in the second and third quarter by being at the right place at the right time while knocking down shots and helping on the glass. Senior guard DeArco Pitts really flashed in the third quarter with his ability to create space and hit the mid-range. He also made plays for his teammates and finished with 5 assists. He’s a quality guard that is a winning piece.

Top Performers

Woodland-Stockbridge
Curtis Perdue – 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals
Jalen Mason – 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals
Dewayne Chester – 11 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
Sincere Whitehead – 10 points, 16 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 10 blocks

Jones County
Jameson Bryant – 14 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
Joe Jackson – 14 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block
DeArco Pitts – 12 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists
Marquis Jackson – 12 points, 3 rebounds