WARNER ROBINS -- The Warner Robins Demons made some key defensive plays with just seconds remaining in a tight game to pull out a 53-51 victory over the rival Northside Eagles in GHSA 2-AAAAA play Saturday afternoon.
Neither team led by more than six points the entire second half, and the Eagles took a 51-50 lead on a bucket by Jaylan Sandifer with just 27 seconds remaining.
Warner Robins guard Marquez Callaway was fouled on the ensuing possession and made his first free throw to tie the game. His second was off the mark, but guard Terry Harris got loose on the rebound and put the ball back up and in for a two point lead with 10 seconds to play.
After a timeout, Northside’s Trayvon Willis raced end-to-end, but his runner was blocked out of bounds underneath the basket on a spectacular play by Stephone Raybon. Harris then sealed the win as he grabbed a share of the inbounds pass to give the Demons the ball on the alternating possession.
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“I just (saw) a man going to the goal, and you can’t let him score,” Raybon said. “I had to find some way, and he wasn’t going to let me take the charge, so I just had to go up and block it.”
“That’s just playing hard,” Warner Robins head coach Jamaal Garman said. “We practice that kind of situation in practice so when that situation came up, we were ready for it. It’s one play, and you have to make a play, or you lose.”
The two rivals combined to shoot just 6-of-36 from 3-point range and attempted just 10 free throws prior to the start of the fourth quarter.
“You have to keep playing and attacking the basket since you can’t make shots and try to get in the bonus,” Garman said. “Hopefully you can find your stroke by going to the free-throw line. In the state playoffs, there’s not going to be a lot of games where you just blow people out, so you have to grind.”
Raybon and fellow post player Nathan Curtis were the difference offensively in the second half for the Demons as they teamed up for 19 points. Curtis had eight of the Demons’ first nine points in the fourth quarter.
“They were in foul trouble in the first half, and it was kind of hard for us to go inside,” Garman said. “They came back in the second half, and they took the game over for us.”
An 18-2 record overall and a perfect 4-0 in region play has many Demons fans dreaming of a deep state playoff run.
“The sky is the limit,” Garman said. “I know we say that about a lot of stuff, but this team really is one of those teams where the sky is the limit.”
The Northside girls also remained unbeaten in region play and clinched a No. 1 seed in the region tournament with a 42-35 victory. Tia Williams led the Eagles with 11 points.