WARNER ROBINS -- The Jones County Greyhounds were almost perfect down the stretch and pulled away from the Houston County Bears for a 72-66 GHSA Region 2-AAAAA victory Friday night.
Jones County entered the contest at 1-2 in region play and desperately needed a win to keep pace in the standings.
We lost to Warner Robins, and we lost a close one at home to Northside, so this one for us was a must-win, Jones County head coach Dennis Woolfolk said. Thats the first time Ive really put that much pressure on them, but I wanted to see how they would handle that situation. We had some guys step up.
Jones County shot 9-of-17 from the 3-point line in the first half for a 39-35 lead, including a string of six consecutive made shots in the second quarter. Despite the hot shooting, the Greyhounds came out focused on getting to the rim in the second half and attempted just six 3-pointers the rest of the way.
We kind of sucker you in with those 3s, and then in the second half, our offense is more geared towards driving to the basket, Woolfolk said.
We just wanted to attack the basket because we knew that they couldnt stay in front of us, senior guard Brandon Wimberly said.
The Bears stayed in the game by dominating down low. Post player AJ Burton scored nine of his team-high 19 points in the third quarter as the Bears took a 56-54 lead to the final quarter. The Houston County lead grew to as many as five with 4:38 to play, but Jones County snatched the lead back less than a minute later. The Bears managed just two points the rest of the way.
We threw a couple of pressures on them at the end that we hadnt used all game to kind of shake them up, and it worked (Friday) getting us a couple of turnovers, Woolfolk said.
Wimberly and sophomore point guard Jerry Stephens made all four of their free-throw attempts inside the final minute to seal the victory.
This is a good win for our confidence especially in region play, and it should carry over to (Saturday at Baldwin), and we can get another win, Wimberly said.
The Houston County girls picked up their second region win of the season with a 39-28 victory. Freshman guard Autumn Ring led the Bears with 16 points, and center Justice Wright picked up the 1,000th point of her career on a free throw in the fourth quarter.