GRAY -- The Jones County Greyhounds faced overcame Gainesville junior DMarcus Simonds, who has committed to Mississippi State, for another playoff win Saturday night.
Even though Simonds scored 41 points, the Greyhounds kept battling, overcoming a 13-point deficit in the third quarter, a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter and a five-point deficit with only 1:31 left in overtime for a 65-64 win over Gainesville.
The Greyhounds scored the final six points of the game, including the game-winner from Landrevius Bowden with 1.5 seconds left, to advance in the GHSA Class AAAAA playoffs.
“I don’t know what I can say about the way this team competes,” said Jones County head coach Dennis Woolfolk, whose team improved to 21-9 and will play Wednesday at Brunswick. “We have such resilience as a basketball team, and we have been undersized all year, but you can’t measure the size of the heart that we show.”
Gainesville cruised through the first half, taking a 28-23 lead into halftime behind Simonds’ 22 points. The Red Elephants outscored Jones County 10-2 in the first two minutes of the third quarter to take their biggest lead at 38-25. Simonds scored eight of those points and had two long 3-pointers, but the Greyhounds went on a 9-0 run, behind Jayvaughn Patterson, who scored five of his 24 points during that span.
The Red Elephants however, pushed their lead back to 49-40 by the end of the quarter.
“The beginning of the third quarter was totally my fault because I decided to go zone to stay out of foul trouble, and it almost cost us the game,” Woolfolk said. “The guys came in at the timeout I called and wanted to play man-to-man and switch when we needed to, and that’s what we did. We played great team defense after that.”
Simonds went cold in the third quarter and could not find his stroke, missing 10–of-11 shots in one stretch, and Jones County started cutting into the Gainesville lead. The Greyhounds pulled to within 55-53 with two minutes left on a Nick Singleton basket and finally tied the game with 13 seconds left on a driving basket by Keiro Axom, his only basket of the game.
Jones County missed its first six shots of overtime, and Simonds scored five points to give his team a 64-59 lead, but the Greyhounds di not quit. Two straight baskets by Singleton cut the Gainesville lead to 64-63, and Simonds then forced a shot in the paint with 18 seconds left, and Jones County got the rebound. After a miss by Patterson, Njyel Lewis grabbed the rebound, his 10th, and passed to Bowden, who drove to the basket and scored.
“I got a great pass and just went hard to the basket,” Bowden said. “This team never quits, and we felt good about things when we got to overtime, because we believe that we are in better shape than anyone we play.”
“We don’t have a superstar on this team, but we play like we are brothers every game.”