COLUMBUS, GA -- The starting five players at Turner County have been well scouted by nearly every team in south Georgia this year because of its success throughout the regular season.
But if it wasn't for senior Todd Lawson coming off the bench and performing as well as he did in the fourth quarter, the Rebels would have a different ending to the season.
Lawson's defense and big three-pointer helped the No. 1 team in class A knock out Terrell County 68-63 on Friday night at Columbus State.
Lawson's defense on the surging Terrell County attack in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference maker. Terrell County chipped away at a seven point lead with six minutes left to play thanks to great shooting from Martavious Yarbrough. The 6-2 wing hit a pair of three-pointers and eventually took a one point lead with 3:40 to play in the game. Turner County head coach Eric Holland called a timeout and had a conversation with Lawson.
"He came to me and said 'Coach, give to me.' So when your best defender comes to you and says that, you listen," Holland said.
"Todd really wore him down. His legs started to get heavy and then his shots stopped falling. The thing with Todd is that he can be a starter for this team but he accepted his role with this team and really gives us a spark."
Lawson hit a three pointer promptly after the timeout, giving Turner County a four point lead at the three minute mark. The Rebels never lost the lead again.
Turner County was paced by senior Ternell Davis, who scored 22 points on nine of 24 shooting from the floor. The Chipola bound guard also grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded four steals.
Big man Chris Spears added 13 points and seven rebounds in the win. Trey Pearce and Breon Dixon both scored nine points each.
Terrell County had to play nearly all of the fourth quarter without its star big man Robert Ellis because of foul trouble. Ellis was a headache for Turner in the first half. He owned the glass and was a terror as a shot-blocker. Ellis grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 10 shots but only scored six in the defeat. Holland said Terrell County became a tougher team to defend without the big man on the floor.
"They actually became a different team. They became faster. They have better speed and probably even became more athletic," Holland said.
Terrell County point guard Terel Hall played a big role in his team's comeback. The 5-8 sophomore dished seven of his ten assists in the fourth quarter.
Turner County will play the winner of the Athens Christian-Greenforest Christian game on Weds., March 11 at 5:30 at the Macon Centreplex.