IRWINTON -- The game plan didn’t look like it was working early Wednesday for the Tattnall Square boys basketball team.
But once it started working, the Trojans settled into their game with GMC in the GHSA Region 7-A tournament, pulling out a 52-47 win.
“We were giving up a lot of size on the inside, so the game plan was to pack the paint and make them hit shots,” Tattnall head coach Jarvis Smith said. “They hit some shots early, but our guys really battled in there and kept fighting.”
After falling behind early in the first quarter, the Trojans led 12-10 at the end of the quarter. The game stayed close into the halftime with the Trojans holding a 25-24 advantage.
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Tattnall struggled in the third quarter, however, scoring only seven points, and it trailed 36-32 entering the final quarter. But the Trojans regained their footing in the final quarter, pulling away at the foul line at the end.
Will Trevitt led Tattnall with 18 points, while Calvin Slaughter added 14. GMC’s Quatavius Brisco had a game-high 20.
“Our guys played hard,” Smith. “And once (the Bulldogs) hit a stretch there where they weren’t hitting shots, we played a lot better. I’m really proud of these guys and how they played.”
AQUINAS 52, STRATFORD 48
Jamie Dickey had seen this story line play out for his team for a lot of the season.
The Stratford Eagles have played well in stretches of games but then have stretches that they haven’t played well. The early rough stretch was too much to overcome in the first round.
“We had a really bad first half, and we just didn’t play well,” Dickey said. “But that’s the way we have played this season. We will have a really good spurt when we play really well, and then we’ll be sluggish on offense and really struggle.
“We played better in the second half, but we just didn’t make enough plays or get enough stops.”
The Eagles trailed 27-14 at the half, and then Aquinas got two quick scores to go up by 17 in the third quarter. Stratford fought all the way back and pulled to within 41-40 but wasn’t able to take the lead on a couple of chances early in the fourth quarter.
From there, the game went down to the wire, and Quintez Cephus, who finished with 28 points to lead the Eagles, hit a 3-pointer to cut Aquinas’ lead to 50-48 with 39.3 seconds left.
After a steal by Nate Brooks, the Eagles had the ball with a chance to win or tie, and Noah Hill was fouled with 7.3 seconds left. He missed the first free throw, and Stratford was called for a lane violation on the second. SanAntonio Brinson then made two free throws for Aquinas to seal its win.
“What I told them in the locker room is to stick together,” Dickey said. “The worst thing to do in tough times is to separate. We’re still going to the state playoffs, and we get to play some more, so we need them to stick together.”
HANCOCK CENTRAL 90, MOUNT DE SALES 52
The Cavaliers stuck with the Bulldogs for one quarter, but after that it was all Bulldogs.
Hancock Central led 9-7 after the first quarter but outscored Mount de Sales 81-45 the rest of the way. The Bulldogs’ balanced attack had six players in double figures.
Mount de Sales was led by Darius Wonnum with 11.