LaRaymond Spivery took over the game in the fourth quarter, leading George County to the championship of the Paul Wallace Classic with a 53-50 win over host Vancleave.
“We are glad to be part of this tournament,” said Rebels coach Ron Renfroe. “We knew winning it was going to be tough. (Vancleave) is a quality team and we knew they would be hard to beat.”
With just under seven minutes left , Vancleave’s Trevor Davis hit a running lay-up to give the Bulldogs a 38-34 lead. Vancleave, though, missed their next three shots and turn the ball over three times, allowing George County to go on a 12-0 run.
Spivery and Cameron Hartsfield each connected from beyond the arc to spark the Rebels. Hartsfiled added two more baskets off turnovers as George County (12-1) led 46-38, appearing to turn a close, hard-fought game into a rout.
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Behind Davis, Vancleave fought back with a lay-up and three-pointer to cut the George County lead to four, 47-43 with 3:10 left. Jonathan Knight came up with an offensive rebound and putback to 47-45 with just under two minutes remaining to play.
With 22 seconds left, Knight was fouled on a lay-up and converted the free throw for a 3-point play to bring Vancleave (9-7) within 51-50.
Jaquan Hawkins converted both free throws, pushing the Rebels’ lead to 53-50 with 12 seconds left.
Vancleave got the ball down court, but missed the last-second trey. Max Noblitt grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled by Vancleave. Noblitt missed the free throw with a half second left, but Davis’ three-quarters desperation heave clipped the bottom of the net.
“I hated to see them with the ball at the end,” Renfroe said. “However, we were able to hit some free throws at the end that allowed us to take the air out of the ball at the end.”
Despite the loss, Vancleave coach Robert Johnson was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We played a very, very tough game,” he said. “We eliminated as many mistakes as we could. We stepped up our effort. We played a very, very good team. The game came down to who wanted it more. We made our plays at the end. George County just played more.”
Spivery and Cortez McCarty led George County with 18 points each. Spivery scored eight points in the final quarter o lead George County. Hartsfield finished with 14 points and Hawkins with eight points.
Davis scored 20 to pace Vancleave. Knight added 13 points and Xavier Bass 11 points.
East Central girls 61, Greene County 38: East Central (12-2) won the Paul Wallace Classic’s girls championship.
Behind Sania Wells, the Lady Hornets got off to a dominant start. Wells scored 10 in the first quarter as East Central jumped out to a 20-7 lead and never looked back.
“This means a lot to our players and community,” Lady Hornets coach Wes Brewer said. “Anytime you can come in and win a tournament, it builds confidence in the players and community.”
Wells finished with 23 points without playing the final quarter due to the Lady Hornets’ dominant lead. Madison Pearson added 18 for East Central. Julia Clark scored eight points as nine Hornets scored.
“Sania is a very special player who gets everybody involved,” Brewer said. “We were able to get a couple of 50-50 balls and get in rhythm early.”
Bebe Higgins paced the Wildcats (14-5) with 10 points. Destiny Street added eight points for Greene County.
Stone High 56, St. Patrick 51: Landon Arnold scored eight points in the final quarter as Stone High held off St. Patrick for the third-place trophy.
Down 39-37 heading into the final eight minutes of play, St. Patrick went deep with Logan Young, Jacob Salminen, and Tavian Stobridge connecting for threes. However, Arnold and Horatio Parker, who scored five in the final minutes, turned back the Fighting Irish challenge.
Arnold led the Tomcats with 15 points. Parker finished with eight points as nine Stone players scored. Stobridge led St. Patrick with 22 points and Young finished with 15 points. The Irish hit nine treys on the night.
Gautier girls 41, Stone 21: Alexis Hooks and Ziyuna Grady scored 12 points each as Gautier easily won the girls consolation game. Arioana Galloway scored eight points to lead Stone High.