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KERSHAW – Andrew Jackson seriously flirted with an upset of Class A powerhouse Great Falls on Monday night, but the Red Devils used a serious run to take a 53-43 comeback win over the Vols.
AJ, which held a 26-25 edge with a period to play, saw the Red Devils open the pivotal final period with a key 16-0 run to forge a 41-26 lead on the way to the win in the title game of the Comporium Christmas Classic.
“We used our timeouts early in the second half and when Great Falls went on that run, we just didn’t have a timeout to try and slow down that momentum in that run,” AJ coach Dale Reeves said. “Great Falls is a good, solid team and they did what they needed to get the win.”
The Red Devils were sparked by the trio of Eliston Buchanan, Torrey Craig and Leroy Roseboro.
Buchanan hit 12 points – 10 at the foul line, including nine in the final period. Craig tallied 16 for the game, with seven coming in the decisive fourth quarter.
Roseboro tallied eight of his 14 points in the final period.
“When you play Great Falls, you need a complete effort and we played tough, but they were able to get rolling in the final quarter and that was the difference,” Reeves said. “That’s a talented team and they have their share of weapons.”
AJ opened a 6-5 lead after one period and held a 14-12 edge at the half. The Vols were up 26-25 with a period to play before taking the 10-point win.
“Justin and Tremaine shot well for us in the final quarter,” Reeves said. “Robert Massey also came in and played well. Overall, I thought we hustled well and rebounded well. A game like this helps you prepare for region play, but we know we have to have a complete game in these tough region match-ups.”
O’Marr Truesdale led AJ with 13 points and Tremaine Jackson hit 11. Justin Sellers scored eight and Ryan Miller chipped in seven. Robert Massey added four.
Miller and Truesdale were selected to the all-tournament team.
In the girls’ championship game, L-E forged a 14-7 lead after one period and extended its edge to 30-9 at the break on the way to a 52-25 win over AJ.
The Lady Demons took control in the second period as Natasha Gibson hit six of her seven points to key L-E’s 16-2 second period surge.
In the pivotal second quarter, AJ’s Briana Wright injured a knee and left the game.
“When we lost Briana, it hurt our rhythm and by the time we got our rhythm back, we were too far behind,” AJ coach Dennis Farmer said. “Our second-half execution was off, but we kept hustling and battling.”
Wright and Jazzy Gripper led the Lady Vols with six points each. Rebecca Johnson had four.
Rachael Dippel, Erica Jones, Brandy Ellis and Ashley Aiello netted two points each. Halee Thompson scored one.
Gripper, who scored 23 points in two tourney games, and Johnson were named to the all-tournament team for AJ.
The L-E girls were paced by Kiarre Elliebre with nine points. Aneka Dixon added eight points for the Lady Demons.