Rutland, Westside earn spots in region championship

jheeter@macon.comFebruary 14, 2013 

Rutland’s top two scorers on the season form a potent backcourt.

When one half of that duo fouled out of a GHSA Region 2-AAAA semifinal against Perry on Thursday, the other stepped out.

Junior Jaylon Tyson scored on back-to-back layups and finished with 17 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to lead Rutland to a 77-74 comeback win over Perry at Westside. The Hurricanes will play Westside, a 37-34 winner late Thursday over Baldwin, on Friday.

Shakenneth Williams added 17 points, and Dallas Smith scored 14 for Rutland. K.J. Smith scored 27 to lead Perry.

“My teammates put me in a good position to make some plays,” Tyson said.

Tyson scored on drives to the basket with less than two minutes to play. He then made 4-of-6 free throws in the final minute. Perry missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

His play was a pick-me-up after backcourt mate Ty’lik Evans fouled out with two minutes to play in the game. Evans had been instrumental in the Hurricanes’ escape from a 16-point halftime deficit. His defensive pressure created turnovers and translated into instant offense. He only scored six points, but he created three layups for his teammates as the Hurricanes rolled back into the game in the second half.

Perry’s 16-point halftime lead dwindled to six points at the end of the third quarter. Rutland, which managed just 23 points in the first half, took its first lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the teams traded baskets most of the rest of the way until Tyson’s consecutive baskets with less than two minutes to play.

Perry, meanwhile, couldn’t make free throws down the stretch and struggled to get to the hoop in the second half after making a living in the paint in the first 16 minutes.

“We have to start playing 32 minutes,” Rutland head coach Ron Christian said. “It will catch up to you, playing half a game.”

Westside (boys) 37, Baldwin 34

Westside jumped out of a three-quarter-long quagmire to beat Baldwin in the semifinals of the Region 2-AAAA tournament.

The Seminoles scored 17 points in the fourth quarter after managing just 20 through the first three.

Baldwin used a slow-down approach, and Westside struggled to find any continuity on offense. The Braves, however, weren’t taking advantage of their long possessions, but instead missed shots following a number of 30-to-40-second possessions. The slow-down offense also allowed Westside to stay close while it played poorly on offense.

Malik Harden finally pushed the Seminoles ahead with a pair of baskets midway through the first minute of the fourth quarter.

The Seminoles never trailed again.

Baldwin made it interesting with a pair of 3-pointers by Tyree Solomon in the final six seconds, but the Seminoles made enough free throws to survive.

Howard (girls) 37, Veterans 28

Howard earned the first home playoff basketball game in school history Thursday when its girls team beat Veterans 37-28 in the semifinals of the GHSA Region 2-AAAA tournament at Westside.

Erica Moore led the way for the Huskies with nine points. Veterans’ Kerregan Poe-Cochran led all scorers with 10 points.

Both teams struggled to find their way on offense, but the shots started dropping for the Huskies. Howard made its fair share of baskets from the field as the Huskies struggled, going 10-25 from the foul line.

“They ended up stepping up in the second half and handled our business,” Howard head coach Latavia Coleman said.

Mary Persons (girls) 61, Baldwin 49

Keke Calloway scored 21 points and Aleah Holden added 18 to lead Mary Persons to a win over Baldwin.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter thanks to Calloway’s 10 first-quarter points.

Baldwin rebounded with an offensive spurt in the second quarter to pull within two at the half.

“We relaxed a little bit,” Mary Persons head coach Kurt Greene said. “I think we thought it would be easy and, to their credit, they battled back.”

The Bulldogs regained their offensive rhythm in the second quarter and coasted to the win.

Jayla Waller led Baldwin with 20 points.


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