WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County girls head coach John Roddie reached into the playbook of a coaching legend and pulled out a berth in the championship game of the Lady Bears’ own tournament.
Karissa Engram scored on a layup off an inbounds pass from teammate Brittany Greene with 5.7 seconds remaining in the game and Houston County capped a late rally with a 59-57 victory over Dublin in a semifinal game of the Bear Brawl holiday tournament. The Lady Bears (7-1) will face Warner Robins in the title game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
“I call (the inbounds) play ‘Alvin’ for Alvin Copeland, someone who had an influence on me” Roddie said of the former Northeast coaching great. “They gave us man-to-man, and we were able to execute.”
From the baseline under her own basket, Greene delivered a crisp pass to Engram as she cut for the basket. The layup crept over the rim before falling through the hoop. Dublin’s Aaliyah Smith attempted a game-winning 3-point shot from 35 feet, but the try fell short of the goal. The Irish fell to 5-2 and will face Carver-Columbus in the tournament consolation game.
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The Irish led 54-47 with 2:07 remaining in the game. Baskets by Houston County’s Paige Mosley and Lashonda Jones gave the Lady Bears life. They eventually went ahead 55-54 on Mosley’s baseline floater. The junior shared game-high scoring honors with Dublin’s Quiondra Darrisaw. Each scored 20 points.
The teams traded the lead on the next two possessions before Aaliyah Jones tied the game at 57 with a free throw.
Warner Robins 66, Carver-Columbus 58
The Demonettes will shoot for their third consecutive Bear Brawl title.
Senior Diamond Hudson made six 3-point shots to help rally Warner Robins from a halftime deficit for the second time in the tournament. Hudson finished with 21 points. Kenyona Armstrong led all scorers with 23.
The game was tied at 56 with two minutes remaining in regulation. Carver (6-3) then turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions. The Demonettes (7-0) took advantage, closing the game on a 10-2 run.
Dublin 87, Warner Robins 73
Dublin’s boys gained some revenge for their only loss of the season while earning a berth in the championship game.
Senior guard Trey Rozier led the Irish with 31 points. O’dell Anderson added 21 and Dalvin Ashley scored 17. Dublin shooters made 12 shots from 3-point range. Rozier made six while Ashley hit five.
“He handles the ball real well and takes the pressure off me and the other players,” Ashley said of Rozier.
Dublin (6-1) trailed 20-14 after the first quarter, but the Irish exploded in the second. The Irish hit six 3-pointers in the second quarter on the way to 36 points. At halftime, Dublin held a 50-36 advantage. Ashley hit a pair of 3-point shots in the second quarter. He added three more in the third quarter as the Irish built an insurmountable 73-50 lead.
“I had a bad game (in the tournament opener against Northside),” Ashley said. “Coach told me to keep my head up and keep playing.
“I just had to spot up in the corner and be ready for the shot. If I miss, I keep playing.”
Warner Robins put three players in double figures led by Juvuan Shine with 20 points. The Demons (3-4) knocked off Dublin 70-67on Dec. 6.