A turnaround season for the Winder-Barrow boys' basketball team nearly came to a quick and bitter end Thursday night, Feb. 6. But the Bulldoggs rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit to beat Habersham Central 77-68 in overtime in the first round of the GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA tournament at Gainesville High School.
The win gives the Bulldoggs (17-9) their first state playoff berth in three seasons.
Down 44-29 with 3:07 left in the third quarter, the Bulldoggs began to make a comeback and finally caught the Raiders (7-19) when Tyreek Perkins' jumper tied the game at 62-62 with 1:06 remaining in the game.
On the Bulldoggs' next possession, Perkins, who finished with a game-high 31 points (22 after halftime), drove the lane and laid the ball in off the glass to give his team a 64-62 advantage with 10.3 seconds left.
Habersham Central, though, got a pair of free throws from Malachi Dooley with 4.8 seconds to go to force overtime.
Winder-Barrow dominated the extra four-minute period. Tim Loud hit a 3-pointer to get it going and then stole a pass and cruised down the floor for a lay-up to put the Bulldoggs up 69-64. Loud finished with 14 points off the bench. Ahmad Scott had a strong night for the Bulldoggs as well, finishing with 17 points.
Third-seeded Winder-Barrow will now face second-seeded Gainesville in the tournament semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7. The winner advances to the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. The loser will play in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Apalachee boys eliminated by Dacula in double OT thriller
On Thursday afternoon, the Apalachee boys' team saw its season come to a heartbreaking end as the fifth-seeded Wildcats fell to fourth-seeded Dacula 80-75 in double overtime.
It was a back-and-forth contest throughout with the Wildcats staging a last-minute rally capped by senior Brayson Hayes' 3-pointer that tied the game 56-56 with 4 seconds left in regulation.
Senior Shaan Cook's 3-pointer with 18.3 seconds left in the first overtime period gave the Wildcats (5-18) a 65-63 advantage, but the Falcons (11-15) got a layup by Lamariyon Jordan with 6.7 seconds remaining to extend the game by four more minutes.
A 7-0 run by the Falcons late in the second overtime helped them eventually put the game away.
Senior Jamonte Wallace led the Wildcats with 27 points, while Hayes finished with 26.
Dacula will face top-seeded Lanier at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
Winder-Barrow girls eliminate Apalachee
In girls' action Thursday, third-seeded Winder-Barrow jumped way ahead with an 18-0 run in the first quarter and never looked back, easily defeating sixth-seeded Apalachee 64-37 in the first round of the tournament.
The Lady Bulldoggs (16-10) got 22 points from sophomore Taniyah Parrish while senior Keirsten Jackson added 10 points.
Apalachee (2-24) was led by senior Kesley Knox's 9 points. Freshman Averie Akin finished with 8 points.
Winder-Barrow will face second-seeded Dacula in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Friday.