Saturday, February 21, 2009
Turner County, Greenville ready for 2-A finals
TURNER COUNTY FIGHTS BACK
As the third quarter of the Turner County-Dooly County was about to start, one of the officials working the game came over to the media table and couldn’t hold back a smile from ear to ear. Even the men in stripes knew they were watching a big time match-up at Georgia Southwestern University on Friday night.
The two 2-A teams put on a show in the semi-finals in one of the best games of region tournament play this week. Turner County had to fight back in the second half to claim the 69-60 over Dooly County and advanced to the region championship finals on Saturday.
Turner County, the number one team in class A, was in a position that the Rebels have rarely, if ever, been in this season. They were fighting from behind.
Dooly County had a monster shooting game from skinny-as-a-rail senior Alex Barron. The 6-2 guard pulled up from several feet behind the three-point line for some amazing long range buckets. He hit four straight and had his team up by as many as 13 in the second half.
However, big men Eric Martin and Charsini Washington were subbed out of the game late in the third quarter and that’s when Turner County turned up the heat and went on a 29-9 run to close the game out.
For Turner County coach Eric Holland, his virtually unchallenged team had to learn a little something about them in the hard fought win.
“I’d rather be up against the ropes in the semi-finals than being up against the ropes in the state playoffs,” Holland said.
His players certainly agreed.
Ternell Davis, a Chipola Junior College bound senior guard, scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and helped spark the emotion in his teammates down the stretch. Davis said there was some complacency in the first half.
“We learned that we can’t let up to anyone. We have to come out and work harder next time out,” a tired Davis (pictured above) said after the game.
Junior big man Chris Spears said Dooly County may have done his team a favor by making them come from behind in the region tournament.
“Being the number one team in the state will make you have a big bullseye on your back at all times. We know it’s going to get even bigger next week [during the state tournament],” Spears said.
Spears was one of the four Turner County players in double figure scoring. He finished with 14 points. Senior Trey Pearce added 15 and sophomore big man Breon Dixon put in 12 points.
Dixon, a long-armed 6-7 post, is one of the top players in the class of 2011 in Georgia. He’s on the cusp of emerging into a nationally recruited prospect. Dixon certainly claimed stake to one of the top five spots in the state’s loaded sophomore class rankings.
Turner County can make an argument for being one of the top five teams in Georgia regardless of class. The Rebels have size, depth, star power and youthful talent waiting in the wings. Turner County is the most balanced and well-oiled machine of any of the elite teams in the Peach State.
Dooly County had a huge game from Barron, who scored a game high 25 points while senior big man Eric Martin added a loud 17 points. The 6-6 senior made a big impression with his play in the post, scoring tough shots and claiming big rebounds down the stretch.
SOPHOMORES TAKE CENTER STAGE
Two of the best sophomores in the state met face to face for the first time this season on Friday night at Georgia Southwestern in a 2-A semi-final match-up. Kentavious Caldwell led the charge for Greenville and knocked off Nick Marshall and Wilcox County 64-53.
Caldwell turned his ankle at the start of the fourth quarter and the usually unemotional guard looked like he was headed to the bench with the injury. Despite the grimaces and obvious pain, he went back on the floor and played even more aggressive than he did before.
Caldwell attacked the basket with a purpose and scored 12 of his game high 22 points int eh fourth quarter. The 6-5 junior finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, and four assists in the win. He showed nearly every facet of his game, minus his usually reliable shooting touch from the perimeter. Wilcox played an aggressive box and one on him throughout the match-up.
Marshall, too, had to free himself up from the grasp of a stifling box and one that Greenville played on him. Marshall, a 6-2 sophomore, struggled to find good looks on the offensive end of the floor. He did finish with 20 points on 8-21 shooting from the floor and 3-12 from three.
Despite his cold shooting moments, Marshall had several wow plays, including a NBA range pull up three point jumper from the left corner. His bucket cut the lead to two with two minutes left to play. Unfortunately, that was the closest Wilcox would get in the final minutes of the game.
Marshall has been one of the top players in South Georgia this season. And not just in basketball. He’s one of the top athletes on the gridiron and he quarterbacked his team to a 12-1 record.
at 11:21 AM