Veterans explodes in fourth quarter to upset Rutland

jheeter@macon.comJanuary 17, 2014 

KATHLEEN -- Bryan Hollis doesn’t mind being called his team’s garbage man.

The Veterans junior wears the nickname with pride, and the hustle that brought on that label was on display Friday night against Rutland.

Hollis scored eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Warhawks (12-5, 6-2 GHSA Region 2-AAAA) played one of the best six-minute stretches in program history to upset Rutland 80-73 and forge a tie atop the region standings with the Hurricanes and Perry. Veterans swept the regular-season series and will hold the region tiebreaker over Rutland.

“We challenged each other (after a loss to Perry on Tuesday),” Hollis said. “We came out here and said we had a point to prove. We came out here and showed it.”

Mike Leger added 15 points and Maalik Leggette scored 14 for the Warhawks. Rutland (13-3, 6-2) had four players score in double figures led by Jeremy Braswell’s 18 points. Jaylon Tyson scored 16, Shakenneth Williams added 14 and Cortez Lattimore had 10 points, respectively.

Rutland led by as many as 11 in the first half and by nine with 40 seconds to play in the third quarter.

But Veterans scored the final two baskets of the third quarter, the second one a floater by Elijah Milteer just before the buzzer sounded. Those two baskets triggered a 14-1 run for the Warhawks, pushing the Hurricanes into catch up mode for the first time.

Veterans continued to pour on the pressure, with Hollis getting two open layups and a putback to push the Warhawks’ lead to six with five minutes to play in the game.

Rutland only scratched back from the foul line. The Hurricanes didn’t make their first field goal of the fourth quarter until a Tyson layup cut the Veterans lead to 74-68 with 2:55 to play. The basket ended a six-minute stretch without a field goal and goes against the pace the Hurricanes prefer.

“You just got to grind it out,” Hollis said. “You can’t let what they do get into your head. You have to keep playing your own game. Keep staying at it, keep staying consistent and the results will show.”

The Warhawks put up 25 points in just more than six minutes to start the fourth quarter and turned a nine-point deficit to a 10-point lead during a 29-10 run that began at the end of the third quarter.

“We took care of the ball and worked to get real good shots,” Veterans head coach Christopher Kothe said. “That’s part of maturing as a team. ... We’re up and down sometimes but (Friday) we showed what we’re capable of and what we can do.”

The Hurricanes played without standout guard Ty’lik Evans, who hasn’t played in either game against Veterans this season.

The Rutland girls held off Veterans for a 43-40 win earlier Friday night.

Ty’Asia Grayer led the Hurricanes with 16 points. Kya Cochran led Veterans with 15 points in the loss.

“It’s a balanced region,” Rutland head coach Johnny Dixon said. “It appears that you have four teams right there.”

The game was tied at the half, but the Hurricanes got out to an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter. Veterans closed the gap to three points but ran out of time.

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