If there was a trap game in the playoffs, Saturday’s game between Griffin and Warner Robins could have been that game for the Demons. That wasn’t the case, however, as the Demons dominated the Bears for four consecutive quarters in an 80-53 decision Saturday in the GHSA Class 5A playoffs.
Griffin easily had the size advantage against Warner Robins. The Bears had 6-foot-10 Georgia Southern commitment Tyshaun Crawford at center, while the Demons’ tallest player was 6-6 backup forward/center Bobby Kelly.
The Demons, however, didn’t let the Bears big man intimidate. As soon as Crawford touched the ball as many as three Demons defenders swarmed him, forcing him into bad shot positions and turnovers. Crawford was held scoreless in the first quarter and Warner Robins led 23-8.
Crawford didn’t get his first basket until the beginning of the second quarter, and he didn’t get his first dunk until late in the second quarter, and by then, the Demons were putting the game out of reach with a 39-20 lead.
Three Who Mattered
Tyshaun Crawford: Although the Griffin big man was held to 10 points, his presence on the court mattered. He drew as many as three defenders every time he touched the ball.
Nelson Phillips: Griffin had no answer for the Warner Robins guard. He outscored Griffin by himself in the first quarter with 10 points. He finished the game with 27.
Jacolby Owens: Phillips’ backcourt also caused problems for the Griffin. He finished the game with 11 points.
Demons were motivated: The Demons controlled the game from the opening whistle, not allowing the Bears to win a single quarter.
Crawford makes a difference: Crawford scored the first basket in their first possession of the third quarter. On the next possession he blocked Dillard’s shot and it turned into a score by Griffin guard Darrell Evans Jr. Crawford scored in the post the next possessions.
Dillard took on the challenge: Although Crawford had the size advantage, Jam’l Dillard played Crawford as if he had the size advantage against everyone opposite of him. In a key sequence in the third quarter, Dillard stopped Crawford’s brief scoring run. After Crawford’s second consecutive score in the third quarter, Dillard scored in the post and then drew a foul against Crawford on the Demons’ next possession.
Griffin’s football team outscored its basketball team in a first-round matchup against Warner Robins in November in the playoffs. Griffin won 56-49.
They said it
Warner Robins head coach Jamaal Garman’s thoughts on game: “Came out with a lot of intensity and played great defense and really just wanted to win in front of our home crowd and that’s what we ended up doing.”
Garman on motivating team to play against a six-win team in the playoffs: “I told my guys imagine if we were 6-20 in the playoffs, imagine how we’d feel. They all said they’d try to win so that’s the mindset we went into it with. Thinking those guys are going to try to come in and knock us off so we have to be ready to play.”
Dillard on his matchup against Crawford: “It was good. He was big, and I brought everything I got to him so he’s going back to Griffin now with a loss so that’s good for my team right there.”
The Demons advance to the second round and will host Wednesday or Thursday.