Rutland, Perry boys advance in Region 2-AAAA

jheeter@macon.comFebruary 11, 2014 

While the Rutland boys were in an elimination game, the third-seeded Hurricanes advancement to the state tournament was no surprise.

Rutland (20-5) hammered West Laurens 76-31 to advance to the state tournament.

Ty'lik Evans led Rutland with 15, while Jalen Kirkland and Shakenneth Williams each scored 10 points.

The Hurricanes will play rival Westside in the semifinals Thursday.

West Laurens (17-9) beat Rutland by 13 on Saturday, pushing the Hurricanes into the third seed in the region tournament and out of an automatic bid for the state playoffs.

"That was an eye-opener," Kirkland said. "It was kind of a sluggish night for everybody."

Rutland used the loss to West Laurens as a wake-up call. It led by 10 five minutes into the game and then outscored the Raiders 29-3 in the third quarter to lead by 39 heading into the fourth.

Perry beat Baldwin 55-44 in the final game of the day to earn its second straight state playoff appearance.

The Panthers (16-11) will play rival Veterans in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Perry started to pull away in the second quarter, leading by nine at the half.

The Panthers held Baldwin (13-12) to six points in the third quarter to mask their own offensive struggles. They grinded throughout the second half on offense, but never let Baldwin get closer than seven in the fourth quarter thanks to some solid work from the foul line. They made 12-of-17 free throws in the final six minutes of the game, needing only one field goal in the fourth quarter to keep the Braves at bay.

Perry head coach Brett Hardy said he actually thought his team benefited from landing in the No. 5 seed, rather than the fourth seed. It allowed his team to get a game underneath its belt on Monday, helping them find a rhythm.

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