Maybe it’s the fact they’ve played overtime in four of their last five games; and all those extra minutes are really paying off. Maybe it’s the possibility they’ve peeked – come together as a team – at just the right time; although they’ve played really good ball all season long.
Whatever it is, it’s working. Houston County’s boys are a force to be reckoned with. The latest evidence of that came Friday night when they beat Coffee, the top-ranked team in AAAAAA – and at Coffee – 61-57 for the Region 1-AAAAAA championship.
Not only do they get title honors – their first since the 05-06 season – they also earned the No. 1 seed for 1-AAAAAA during the playoffs.
The Trojans started off the game with a bucket. Chris Horton tied it on a short jumper before Coffee went up again on a free throw. Isaia Harris, who had nine, hit a trey to make it 5-3 and the Bears never trailed again until about midway through the fourth quarter. They were up 12-11 after one and led 29-28 at the half. Their biggest lead was seven, 47-40, which came just before the third quarter came to an end; it was 47-41 heading into the fourth.
Coffee rallied to tie it at 47 about three minutes into the fourth. It was tied at 49 a minute later and 52-51, Trojans, shortly after that.
The Bears tied – 53. Coffee went up – 54-53. T.J. Morgan then hit a 3-pointer – he had 11 on the night – to make it 56-54. Coffee again tied it at 56 at the 2:34 mark – by now with their fans in full verbal effect – but Houston County would not fold.
Harris made it 58-56 with a put-back. The Trojans got one-of-two from the free-throw line but T.J. Morgan answered that with one-of-two and then got Houston County’s final bucket – Coffee missed two attempts from 3-point land in between – on a layup.
Northside’s girls had a chance to win it for the girls prior to that, but couldn’t get past Valdosta. The Lady Eagles fell 52-47.
They were up 39-37 heading into the final quarter but got hurt by free throws – the Lady Wildcats were eight-of-12 – and Ja’mya Johnson, who got most of her 20 during that span. Mikeria Carter also had 15 for them while Quidashasia Dunnom and Kaliyah Little lead Northside. Dunnom had 13 and Little had 12.
The Lady Eagles still earned a home game to start the Class AAAAAA state tournament next week.