Tough win gives AJ sweep

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Nail-biter lifts Vols over Buford

By Dylan Knight

KERSHAW – Host Andrew Jackson prevailed in a Region IV-AA basketball sweep of county rival Buford, but the varsity broom job wasn’t achieved in similar fashion.

The Lady Volunteers held off a late BHS run for a 49-35 win and the AJ boys captured a thrilling 46-45 victory.

The boys game came down to the final tick as the Vols held on for the the one-point win.

Buford, with 2.5 seconds to play, had the final shot and a chance for the comeback victory, but Marcus Brown’s corner jumper missed the mark and the Vols gained the rebound and the win.

“I thought we played well on defense and we had a real good third quarter to gain some momentum,” AJ coach Dale Reeves said.

The Vols, ahead 22-20 at the break, used a 15-10 third-quarter charge to take a 37-30 lead.

AJ’s Robert Massey, who hit  10 points, scored on a layup to give the Vols a 39-30 spread early in the final period.

Buford fought back and made it a battle to the final horn.

With 55.9 seconds to play, Brown snapped a 42-all draw with a free throw. Massey hit two free throws to send AJ up, 44-43.

Brown’s jumper seesawed BHS up, 45-44 with 31.2 seconds.

AJ answered as Tremaine Jackson, who led the Vols with 21 – 12 in the second half, drained a mid-lane jumper for a 46-45 lead with 17 seconds left.

Buford came back with a chance to win, and after a timeout with 2.5 to play, the Jackets worked the ball on the right wing for Brown, but his shot caromed off high and the clocked expired.

“Dale had his team prepared and they played hard,” BHS coach Neil Couch said. “I thought we played hard, too, but they played harder longer. We still haven’t played four real solid quarters.”

AJ, keyed by Jackson’s nine points, held a 13-8 first quarter lead. The Vols led 22-20 at the break before taking the edge in the third period for a 37-30 lead.

“I thought Quincy Grier had a strong floor game for us,” Reeves said. “He handled the ball well and played good defense. We still have to do a better job of protecting the ball because we had 31 turnovers and I don’t think I’ve ever won a game with 31 turnovers.”

Jackson hit 21 to lead AJ, while Massey hit 10. Quincy Grier and Chris Harris and Tilson Kirkland each netted four. Dustin Eddins had three points for AJ.

“This was a good birthday present,” said AJ assistant Alex Fair, who turned 32 on Friday. “We made some key plays late in the game on offense and defense to get the win against a scrappy Buford team.”

Brown’s 13 led BHS. Logan Segee scored 12 and Jacob Jamison hit seven. Desmond McGriff had four, while Brett Estridge, Johnathon Soliman and  Dee Williams each tallied three points.

In the opener, AJ, 12-5, 3-2, took control in the pivotal third quarter with a 20-2 spurt to forge a 42-19 lead.

“That third quarter was our best quarter of the season,” AJ coach Dennis Farmer said. “We challenged our girls to play hard and they did. The all chipped in.”

Bre Wright and Leah Kennington each had four points to spark the Lady Vols in the third period.

AJ, which held a 22-17 halftime lead, seemed to be in total control with a 42-19 lead, but the Lady Jackets didn’t fade.

“We let AJ dictate in the third quarter,” T.J. Armbrust said. “I thought we played hard for three quarters, but we had that tough third period. We stepped up our defensive pressure in the final period. We had 11 turnovers in the third quarter and one in the fourth quarter.”

Bre Wright led AJ with 20, 12 in the first half. Dareisha Sowell scored eight and Leah Kennington netted five. Oxi Shropshire Rebecca Johnson eand Elizabeth Scott each scored four. McKenzie Horton and Brandy Truesdale each scored two points.

Carley Bailey paced BHS with 11. Catie Rowell scored six and Hannah Knight supplied five as did Erica Blackmon.

Kendall Boone and Daphne Honeycutt had four points each.

Knight added five rebounds and six steals. Blackmon hauled down five rebounds for the BHS, who fell to 3-12, 0-4.