Straughn's Brice Scott drives the court Saturday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News
Straughn's Brice Scott drives the court Saturday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

A narrow opportunity

Published 12:01am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Georgiana eeked out a narrow 48-45 win over Straughn to win the Tigers’ annual Christmas Tournament on Saturday.

The Panthers and SHS battled back and forth in a tight contest. In the end, GHS pulled ahead, thanks to a put back by Richard Boggan and a free throw by Jacquez Payton.

Straughn matched up well with GHS throughout the first half of the game, backed up a little in the third period and kept it close, but couldn’t finish down the stretch.

“I was proud of them,” Tigers coach Rusty Andrews said. “We gave the effort, but we just didn’t finish. We’re still missing free throws. We were 4-for-10 from the free-throw line.”

The Tigers slowed the pace of the Panther attack down quite a bit, forcing GHS to play out of its fast-paced rhythm for the majority of the first half.

After the first period, GHS led 15-10.

Straughn came back in the second period with the aid of junior guard Rollin Kinsaul, who scored nine of his 15 points in the first half.

Kinsaul, at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds used his quickness on the baseline and outside lanes to get easy buckets to help keep the game close.

Payton got an and one with less than 3:30 to go in the first half to increase the Panthers’ lead to 26-19.

Straughn’s Jordan Walker answered with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 26-22 with 2:08 left, and Kinaul drove the lane on the Tigers’ next possession to give their team a late first-half boost.

That boost would spill over when senior forward Devin Scott drew an offensive foul from Panthers’ guard Devin McMeans.

SHS cut it to one point at 27-26 after a drive from senior guard JD Driver.

Payton finished out the first half with the front end of a pair of free throws, giving GHS a 28-26 lead at the break.

Straughn senior guard Brennan Maddox, who was on fire the other night against Pleasant Home from the arch, found Kinsaul on a roll-around pass to tie the game at 28-all early in the third period.

Kinsaul later found Driver for a layup and a 30-28 lead.

The Panthers got another shot in for the 30-30 tie before Maddox hit a 3-pointer to give the Tigers a three-point cushion.

Payton answered with a trey, and later found Latrell Seals on a transition bucket, which turned into a three-point play with 4:55 left in the third. With the bucket, GHS led 36-33 after the 6-0 run.

SHS kept it close with its ball movement down low and in the paint, as evidenced by Driver finding the bucket off of a pass a short time later.

The game remained close until the waining seconds of the third period, when Driver banked in a 3-pointer with less than seven seconds left. Straughn led 41-39 going into the fourth period.

Scott got a jumper to start the fourth period, building Straughn’s lead to 43-39.

It went back and forth in the fourth with no clear dominant team on the floor until Boggan and Payton made their shots to go ahead for good.

Straughn had chances on some second-shot opportunities, but couldn’t convert in the end.

“We lost control in the third quarter and they got us out of what we do best, and started making us push the ball,” Andrews said. “If we do that, we turn it over.”

Driver chipped in 13 points. Maddox had six.

Payton, the tournament MVP, led the Panthers with 17 points. McMeans had seven.

Straughn will be back in action at Pleasant Home on Tuesday.

New Brockton 46, Red Level 42

Spencer Stallworth scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth period in Red Level’s loss to New Brockton.

RLS got off to a solid start on a 4-0 run in the first period.

NBHS settled in and caused trouble with its zone play on defense, negating any chances RLS had at the rim.

It was tied 6-6 after the first period.

The game went back and forth in the second period, leading to a 19-19 game at the break.

Red Level’s Devin Dexter, who finished with nine points, drained three 3-pointers in the third period to lead the Tigers to a 30-27 lead going into the fourth.

The Gamecocks answered by getting out to a 5-point 43-38 lead with 2:17 left in the game.

William Crawford added seven points.

Johnny Silas led New Brockton with 14 points. Marquise Neal chipped in 13, and Keenan Rachel scored 12.

In other action, Pleasant Home fell 44-37 to Zion Chapel in the first game of the day.

All-Tournament Team: Chase Peoples, Zion Chapel; Chase Gunter, Pleasant Home; Marquise Neal and Keenan Rachel, New Brockton; Spencer Stallworth, Red Level; JD Driver and Rollin Kinsaul, Straughn; Allen Smith, Devin McMeans and Jacquez Payton (MVP), Georgiana.

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