Late-game turnovers prove costly for Wildcats against Chattahoochee County
Published 12:17 pm Monday, December 31, 2018
ELLAVILLE – It was a hard-fought contest between Schley County and Chattahoochee County (CC), but turnovers by the Wildcats late in the game proved to be costly as the Panthers were able to take advantage and pull out a 71-65 win over the Wildcats on Saturday, December 29, at the Schley County Invitational at Schley County High School (SCHS).
“We’ve got to do a better job of protecting the basketball,” SCHS head coach Ernest Scott said. “We did have turnovers down the stretch. I don’t know how many we had. We were up by about 10 or 11 points. We coughed it up a few times and allowed them to get back in the ball game. Momentum shifted and it just went down from there. We gave a valiant effort, but basketball is a game of momentum and runs. If you can’t get stops and you’re trading baskets, it’s hard to get it back.”
The Wildcats (7-5, 5-3) had two players in double-figures. Jordan Taylor led SCHS with 22 points and Jyquavious Pitts had 14 in the losing cause. Ashton Goodin also chipped in nine points.
For the Panthers (12-2, 6-2), they had four players in double-figures. Brandon Thomas led them in scoring with 21 points and Carlos Meadows scored 16. De’Andre Masten scored 11 and Brian McGhee had 10.
The first quarter was tightly contested with both teams tied at 8-8. However, the Panthers went on a 9-1 run, capped off by a three-pointer by Masten to give CC a 17-9 lead.
However, the Wildcats went on an 11-4 run to get themselves back in the game. With under three minutes left in the first half, Noah Hammons nailed a three-pointer to tie the score at 23-23. Then SC took the lead on a three-pointer by Dylan Taylor. After another basket by the Wildcats, timeout was called. SC had taken a 28-23 lead.
However, the Panthers responded with a 7-2 run of their own, capped off by another three-pointer by Masten. By halftime, both teams were tied at 30-30.
Pitts led the Wildcats with 10 first-half points and Hammons scored six in the first half. All six came on two three-pointers. Meadows led the Panthers in the first half with 13 points.
The Wildcats went on a 7-2 run in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Jordan Taylor weaved his way through the Panther defense and scored to give SC a 37-32 lead. Both teams traded baskets during the next few minutes before Pitts scored on a hook shot to give the Wildcats a 43-37 lead. With a little over three minutes left in the third quarter, Taylor nailed a long three-pointer to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 46-38. Then with 2:41 to go, Taylor nailed another shot from beyond the arc. This prompted a timeout by the Panthers with SC leading 49-38.
However, CC used full-court pressure to create turnovers. They were able to score five-straight points, prompting Scott to call timeout with 1:59 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers continued their full-court pressure defense and got to within three on a layup by Daniel Reese. CC tied the score on a three-pointer by Meadows, setting up an exciting fourth quarter. At the end of three, the teams were tied 51-51.
With 5:04 to go in the game, and CC leading 54-53, Brandon Thomas drove to the basket and scored, but was whistled for an offensive foul. A few minutes later, Brian McGhee missed an easy layup which would have given the Panthers a three-point lead. Those two misses could have been costly for CC, but the Wildcats were unable to take advantage.
After a timeout, Goodin drove to the basket and scored to cut the Wildcats’ deficit to 62-60, but Thomas answered at the other end to extend the Panthers’ lead back up to four.
However, the Wildcats didn’t quit. Down 66-60 with 59 seconds left, Hammons nailed another three-pointer to cut the deficit to three, prompting a timeout by CC with 54.7 seconds to go.
The Wildcats went to full-court pressure, but the Panthers through the ball over the top of the press to Thomas, who was all alone for a layup. The Wildcats tried to get a quick basket, but Jordan Taylor’s three-point attempt was off the mark. The Panthers were able to hold on and win 71-65.
Going into Saturday’s game against the Panthers, the Wildcats were coming off a 91-70 win over Mt. Zion on Friday, December 28, in their first game of the Schley County Invitational. In that game, the Wildcats had four players score in double-figures. Pitts led the way for the Wildcats with 22 points and Ashton Goodin scored 17. Dylan Taylor scored 14 and De’onte Cross chipped in 11.
The Wildcats will try to rebound from the loss to CC when they return to Region 4-1A play and host Marion County on Friday, January 4.