WARNER ROBINS -- A monstrous third quarter paved the way for Warner Robins on Saturday in its GHSA Class AAAAA tournament first-round game against Whitewater in front of a raucous capacity crowd with the Demons winning 60-47.
The games turning point, however, came well before that.
During a back-and-forth first half, Whitewaters Phil Cofer slammed the ball into the basket on two consecutive second-quarter scores. The second of the two with 3:12 to play in the second quarter damaged one of the poles connecting the backboard to the wall of the gymnasium, and the game was delayed for about five minutes while repair work was done with the visiting Wildcats ahead 18-15.
Whitewaters momentum came unhinged after that.
Cofer, who scored 12 first-half points, didnt score again the rest of the game, and the Demons dominated the first four minutes of the second half, going on an 11-4 run. Warner Robins also held Whitewater scoreless for the remainder of the first half.
I was very upset. I told our guys, Look, theyre trying to tear up your house. Youve got to take care of your house, Warner Robins head coach Jamaal Garman said. In the second half, they came out, and that is what they did.
Whitewater led 23-22 with 5:40 to play in the third quarter, but it was all Warner Robins after that. The Demons found ways to penetrate close to the basket in the second half and cash in on numerous scoring chances in the form of layups or short jump shots. A nicely executed pass from Marquez Callaway to Nathan Curtis allowed Warner Robins to take a 25-23 lead.
We watched film on them on a lot and saw their weaknesses and strengths, Callaway said. We came out and played and found their weaknesses.
Callaway went to work in a big way with Warner Robins in front, scoring on three possessions in a row to help Warner Robins pull away. He started with a 3-pointer and followed that up with a lay-up coming off a steal near midcourt, and another basket kept the Demons lead at seven points, 32-25.
With its defense flustering Whitewater, Warner Robins tacked on more points to end the third on a 10-4 run that was finished off by Curtis and Sam Harris, both of whom scored with high impact in the paint.
Curtis scored 17 points with Callaway leading all scorers with 25.
The first half was just full of jitters, being in the first round of the state playoffs, Garman said. In the second half, we just really turned it on and did we weve been doing all year.
Warner Robins hosts Effingham County in the second round Tuesday.