Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

November 21, 2012

Charles Cooper tournament concludes with final 4 games

VALDOSTA — Griffin’s boys basketball team overcame a 16-point deficit to win its game, the girls team from Valdosta dominated its game and both of Lowndes’ teams earned victories on Tuesday night, on the second day of the Charles Cooper Memorial Tip-Off Tournament at Lowndes High School.

The Lady Wildcats and the Vikettes both went 2-0 in the tournament, while the Lowndes and Valdosta boys teams were 1-1.

Griffin boys 71, Valdosta 67

With just over four minutes left in their game on Tuesday, the Griffin Bears trailed by 16 points. Then they caught fire, staged a huge comeback and came away with a victory.

Griffin outscored Valdosta 26-5 in the final 4:05, and rallied to beat the Wildcats 71-67 on Tuesday night.

“Griffin competed. They beat us,” Valdosta head coach Antonio Haynes said. “They outplayed us, they competed harder than us and they just beat us. ... They got hot. They hit some shots. If you get your team to play hard and you start making shots, the game can change.”

With 4:20 left in the game, Valdosta’s Colin Kirkpatrick made a layup, giving the Wildcats a 62-46 lead. At that point, things were looking real good for Valdosta. But that would quickly change.

The Bears suddenly caught fire, and reeled off 11 straight points. They got a layup, a free throw and a pair of three-pointers, then J.R. Ellis stole the ball and raced in for a layup. All of a sudden, Valdosta’s 16-point lead was down to six, 63-57.

Valdosta’s Jason Robertson made a free throw, but Griffin answered with a three-pointer at the other end. Then Ellis drove the lane for a layup, and Valdosta’s lead was down to two, 64-62, with 2:03 left in the game. Valdosta’s Rashad Lewis and Griffin’s Moses Mayes traded a pair of free throws, then Ellis stole the ball, raced in for a layup and tied the score at 66-66 with 1:32 left.

Keyonte Scruggs briefly gave Valdosta the lead with a free throw nine seconds later. But that would be the Wildcats’ final point of the game.

With 46.1 seconds left, Ellis sank two free throws, putting Griffin ahead for good, 68-67. Then he made another free throw with 21 seconds left, and after VHS turned the ball over, he put the game away with two more free throws with 6.6 seconds to play.

Ellis scored 11 points in Tuesday’s game. All of them came in the final 3:13. Mayes had a huge night, scoring 32 points for the Bears, including six points during the fourth-quarter comeback.

Until Griffin’s comeback, the game had been controlled by Valdosta most of the way. The Wildcats built a 12-point halftime lead, 40-28, and led 55-39 at the end of the third quarter.

Kirkpatrick led the Wildcats with 17 points. Clarence Smith scored 14 points, and Lewis added 13 points.

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