Tag Archives: georgia military

Ahmad Rand’s near triple-double helps No. 10 Lincoln County survive GMC

No. 10 Lincoln County 61, Georgia Military 54

Coming off of its biggest win in school history, a 61-59 upset of No. 1 Hancock Central, No. 10 Lincoln County (14-5, 7-3) had won two straight games entering Saturday’s rematch with Georgia Military (10-7, 5-3), who had beaten the Red Devils 75-68 in overtime two weeks prior. With region seeding on the line heading into the Region 7-A tournament, upstart Lincoln County was looking to ride its momentum to another important victory. They did so, using an explosive first quarter to hold on 61-54 in Lincolnton.

The Red Devils came out and punched the Bulldogs in the mouth, opening up a quick 7-0 lead before Head Coach James Lunsford burned his first timeout. Just 55 seconds later, Lunsford called his second as Lincoln County led 9-2 after a Zach Crite And-1 at the 6:02 mark. Sophomore point guard Maciah Gunby tacked on Lincoln County’s third And-1 of the first quarter to go up 16-2, but he would later pick up back-to-back charge calls, sending him to the bench with three fouls in the first quarter.

Georgia Military’s Luke Lawson entered the game third in the state in scoring at 25.7 points per game. The free shooting guard got his first hoop with 2:32 left in the opening quarter to make it 20-5, but he would not score again as Zae Gartrell shut him out the rest of the way.

The first quarter ended with the Red Devils in control 23-8. With Gartrell locking up Lawson on the perimeter, it was Ahmad Rand patrolling the paint. The 6-foot-7 junior has been deemed as the ‘best kept secret’ in Georgia, but won’t be much longer. He finished the night with 10 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks to stifle GMC. Halfway through the second quarter Lincoln County was cruising up 31-8, but Coach Lunsford’s Bulldogs began to claw back.

An 8-0 run cut the lead to 31-16 before Rand found Crite in the corner for three. The Red Devils took a 35-21 advantage into the half, but since trailing 18-3 to open the game, the Bulldogs had outscored Lincoln County 18-17.

The Bulldogs canned three three-pointers in the second quarter and 6-foot-6 senior Alex Moss began to go to work inside, finishing with eight first half points to breathe life into GMC. With Gunby on the bench, Coach Wesley Wuchte’s main ball handler, Ty Elam stepped in. The dreaded 5-foot-10 guard scored seven of his 15 points in the first half to keep the Devils in front.

In the third quarter, Von Holloway started making things happen in the high post. He caught and looked diagonal, hitting a cutting Javon Reid for two.

Then he took it himself and drew his second And-1 opportunity on his way to finishing with eight points and six rebounds.

Late in the third quarter, Rand continued his block party, picking up his seventh swat of the day before Lincoln County entered the final frame with a commanding 49-31 lead.

Things soured for Lincoln County in the fourth. Moss began to take over, playing the passing lanes to pick off a pass and score two of his game-high 23 points, 13 which came in the final eight minutes.

The onslaught was on as the Red Devils tried to weather the storm which came in the form of Moss, Malik Foston and the Bulldog press. Foston drilled four threes and finished with 15 points and five steals, keying the GMC pressure. With 2:37 remaining, Lincoln County held a 57-42 advantage but the lead did not feel safe, especially after Rand had to come out of the game after cutting his hand on the rim while blocking a shot.

With under two minutes to play, GMC sliced the deficit to 11 points. Feeling the heat and the momentum all in the visiting Bulldogs’ corner, Coach Wuchte turned to Rand, now heavily bandaged, to re-enter the game but upon subbing in the referees would not allow him back on the court due to a drop of blood on his shorts. Wuchte in disbelief hurried Rand back into the locker room to change shorts with a teammate. With 30 more crucial seconds off the clock with Rand not on the floor, the Bulldogs brought the game within single digits at 57-48 with 1:15 left, the closest they had been since the first three minutes of the first quarter.

Things continued to meltdown even with Rand back on the floor, as the Red Devils brain cramped and allowed GMC to throw the ball over their heads on a made basket for a wide open layup which was goaltended by Rand at the last second, making it 57-50 with 41.9 seconds to play, a frantic 14-4 run.

Gunby was sent to the line and sank both free throws. The Bulldogs would never climb any closer than a seven-point deficit as the Red Devils survived the late rally which saw the Bulldogs outscore Lincoln County 23-12 in the fourth quarter.

My Take: Lincoln County is not a team people are going to want to face in the state tournament. Class A-Public goes by the flawed “Power Ranking” system introduced by the GHSA, so it will be imperative for the Red Devils to do well in the region tournament to ensure they do not get shafted. Lincoln County lost back-to-back games before scoring a signature win over No. 1 Hancock Central, the Red Devils first win over the 1A-Public powerhouse in over 25 years. That momentum obviously carried over as they smoked Glascock County 82-40 on Friday and opened Saturday’s game on an 18-3 run. Zach Crite is a versatile scorer from his wing position. The senior has enough strength to barrel his way inside and also shows touch from beyond the arc. Maciah Gunby was slapped with foul trouble early but played well when he was on the floor. His two late free throws in the fourth quarter thwarted Georgia Military’s furious comeback. Von Holloway was like a bull in a china shop at times inside, showing off his football mentality when attacking the basket and going after rebounds. He needs more polish when finishing inside against contact, but he did an exceptional job of being patient working the high post and deciding whether to attack the cup or look down low for a dump off. Ahmad Rand was Ahmad Rand. The junior can’t be slept on anymore. He has come out of nowhere and exploded onto the scene with his season average of nearly a triple-double and he didn’t disappoint, flirting with another to add to his school-record, collecting 10 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks. Rand is a late bloomer and is just starting to scratch the surface of the potential he holds. Right now he is an elite rim protector. He showed a feathery touch from one foot inside the three-point line, burying a jumper. Inside, he displayed nice footwork, ducking in between defenders to score baskets. Rand is a gem in Lincolnton and could become something of a legned in the football town if he continues to put 110% into improving his game every single day. For me, the unsung heroes of the game were Zae Gartrell and Ty Elam. Elam stepped in when Gunby was saddled with three fouls and produced admirably, finishing with 15 points and four steals off the bench. Gartrell only scored two points, but his tenacious defense on Luke Lawson was spectacular, not even letting the gun slinger think about firing up shots.

Georgia Military witnessed Lawson’s worst game of the season, but in turn probably saw Alex Moss’ best game. The 6-foot-6 senior battled for 23 points and seven rebounds inside, working for every hoop he got against Rand and the Red Devil interior. He averages 11 points and 9 rebounds on the year and has been a workhorse inside all season for Coach James Lunsford. Malik Foston, a funky shooting freshman, looked good as well. He netted 15 points and picked up five steals leading the charge defensively as the Bulldogs quickly worked their way back into the game.

Top Performers

Lincoln County
Ahmad Rand – 10 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 9 blocks
Zach Crite – 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Ty Elam – 15 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals
Von Holloway – 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists
Maciah Gunby – 8 points, 1 assist

Georgia Military
Alex Moss – 23 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals
Malik Foston – 15 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 5 steals
Andrew Weimer – 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal
Luke Lawson – 2 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist
Markus Taylor – 4 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals
Dustin Hostetter – 1 point, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block