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SF lands knockout on Dresden’s floor

SF lands knockout on Dresden’s floor

By KEVIN WEAKS
Messenger Sports
South Fulton peppered Dresden with a flurry of jabs in the first half. The Red Devils then landed the knockout blow late in the final period.
SF went on a 14-0 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and start of the second to put the Lions on the ropes, and then Clint Wells sent Dresden to the canvas with a 3-point shot from the right corner with 4:03 to play in the game to all but finish off a 49-43 Red Devil win in the quarterfinals of the Region 7A Tournament Friday night at Dresden.
With the win, the Redmen improve to 19-12 and played Humboldt Monday night in the semifinal round 7:30 p.m. at Humboldt. It will be the second game of the night, following Union City against Lake County.
The rest of the tournament moves to the home site of the District 14A Tournament champion, by a vote of the coaches, because the four 14A teams swept 13A in the opening round.
“I was proud of our ballclub,” SF head coach Wes Miller said. “We didn’t play the greatest of games, but at this time of year, whether we win by one or 31, it’s time to advance.”
Dresden closes the season with a 19-10 mark.
Wells hit a trey after close-range baskets by Harrison Hawks and Tevaris James for a 7-4 SF lead at 3:53. Wells’ three was the only long shot for SF until he hit again in the fourth quarter, accounting for the Red Devils’ only triples of the night.
The two teams then went back-and-forth the next few possessions before Dresden’s Brock Dilday went down with an injury to his right knee near the two-minute mark of the first period.
That injury to the Lions’ main ball-handler did even more damage to an already-thin roster that had Kaleb Houston on the bench due to the flu.
For the next six-plus minutes, Dilday’s injury devastated the Dresden side and ignited the Red Devil unit.
“It was huge,” Miller said. “I’ve been on that side where I’ve laid on the floor with a torn ACL, and I hope and pray that it’s not as bad as it looked. We were able to take advantage because he’s their true ball-handler. We really got after them and did some good things. You could tell they were kind of shocked, and we were able to jump on them. That was the key to the game.”
James led the SF blitz with eight of the 14 points that put the Redmen ahead 23-9 at 3:51 of the second period.
Dresden regrouped just in time to close the gap before intermission, Kourtney Sawyer scoring twice — including a six-foot turnaround jumper with 13 seconds to play — as the Lions trimmed the gap to 25-16.
Four points from both Wells and James accounted for the majority of SF’s 12 points in the third frame and helped offset six points by Sawyer, four from Austin Daniel and three by Austin Maxey.
The Lions were within six points, 33-27, late in the third and continued to charge back at the start of the fourth frame. Joey Caldwell dropped in a 3-pointer, then Maxey and Daniel each hit a pair of treys that sliced the gasp to one at 37-36 with 4:52 to play.
Dresden missed a chance to go ahead, though, and Wells made the Lions pay with his game-breaking triple 49 seconds later. James followed up with a 15-foot baseline jumper, and then Wells and James scored inside to make it a 46-39 SF lead with 58 seconds left. Wells finished it by hitting 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch.
“It was a huge three,” Miller said of Well’s second triple. “That was a back-breaker. There’s no player on our team who puts in as much time on his shot as that kid. He probably shoots 500 to 1,000 threes a week, and that’s outside of what we do in practice. I have no question any time he shoots hits. Every time he shoots it, I think it’s going in.
“We were struggling to hit a shot, and he hit a big one and then hit some big free throws down the stretch. He kind of put us on his shoulders, and that’s what a junior who’s been in the fire a little bit has to do.”
Wells led all players with 19 points, while James had 18 points and five rebounds. Keshawn McManus had nine rebounds, and Hawks dished out six assists for SF.
Sawyer scored 14, and Daniel added 13 for the Lions.

Published in The Messenger 2.25.13

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