GRAY -- The evening got off to such a good start for Tom Mobley.
Jones County officials reminded the crowd at the GHSA Region 2-AAAAA girls tournament that Mobley was retiring after the season after 30 years in the Houston County school system.
And they presented the Auburn graduate with a football signed by Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn.
“I’ll tell you what,” Mobley said. “I’m proud of that Gus Malzhan-signed football. I appreciate the people of Jones County. That was awfully hospitable.”
The rims were not so hospitable.
Warner Robins went toe to toe with the second seed from the West, but Cross Creek got a few key 3-pointers for some cushion en route to a 37-31 win in the tournament.
The loss ends Warner Robins’ season at 11-12 and also ends Mobley’s long career as the head coach.
“I get a week off,” Mobley said. “And I go to track. I haven’t coached track in about 20 years.”
His final game on the sideline left him with few complaints.
“I think so,” he said, asked if he was OK with Tuesday night’s game being his final one. “We talked the last three weeks about being all in and taking charges and diving on the floor.
“I thought the girls played hard. This may have been the best we’ve played all year.”
Cross Creek (22-4) had a size advantage, mainly with 6-foot-2 sophomore Alana Davis. Warner Robins’ rare zone disrupted the Razorbacks on the perimeter and made Davis’ points hard to come by. She finished with 10, five below her average.
“Our tallest post player is about 5-9,” Mobley said. “I thought we did a tremendous job pressuring the guards. That had a lot to do with her not being able to catch the ball.”
The zone did fine against Davis, but the Demons were done in by guard Kaela Patrick.
Warner Robins was within 23-22 when Patrick got the nice bounce on a 3-pointer with 1:55 left in the third. The Demons turned it over, and she drained another one from about the same spot, expanding the lead to seven.
The margin grew to nine in the fourth quarter and dropped to five with just less than two minutes left.
Patrick and Davis combined for 23 of Cross Creek’s points, while Warner Robins had four players with at least five points, led by India King’s 6.
“We had some and-ones that didn’t fall in, that just lipped out,” Mobley said. “That (Patrick 3) that hit the back of the rim, went straight up and went in, that was kind of a turning point.
“It just wasn’t meant to be, but I haven’t been any prouder of this team than I was (Tuesday) with their effort in that game.”
GROVETOWN 47, JONES COUNTY 39
A hot start to the fourth quarter allowed Grovetown to open a double-digit lead and knock out the tournament host.
Jones County battled, but Grovetown’s size advantage with Leah Ferguson, Naomi Hughes and Kwajellin Farrar was too much, the Warriors keeping possessions alive with tipouts.
A 3-pointer from Ferguson, a 5-10 post, and then a score low by 6-1 sophomore Farrar got the Warriors going early in the fourth as they took a 37-27 lead one minute into the game.
Jones County (19-6) couldn’t get the margin back below seven the rest of the way.
Cydney Franklin got Grovetown (20-4) going early with five first-half 3-pointers en route to a game-high 18 pints. Atravia Rawlings topped Jones County with 11.
RICHMOND ACADEMY 57, NORTHSIDE 52
Richmond Academy had to play and win Monday to stay alive and found a way to survive a night later against the top seed from the West and end Northside’s season.
The Musketeers (16-10) took the lead early in the first and kept it through halftime, taking a nine-point lead in the third.
But Northside’s second wind arrived, and the Eagles (11-11) went up 35-33 on Alexia Galloway’s layup and free throw. They led by two entering the fourth and by five after Galloway 3s.
Northside’s 5-point lead turned into a deficit in 1:19, a three-point play by Tyren Ward returning the Musketeers to the lead for good with 2:12 left.
Jaelen Scaife’s 3 pulled Northside within one with 24 seconds left, but the Eagles couldn’t do anything else.
Galloway had 18 for the Eagles while MaKayla Tanksley’s 20 topped the Musketeers.