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Gordon Lee boys edge Heritage in NGAC title game thriller

On the surface, the stat line for Anthony Peco in Saturday's North Georgia Athletic Conference championship game doesn't exactly jump out at you: one 3-pointer, two free throws, five total points.

But taken in context, it was the biggest, most important five points of Peco's young life and the biggest, most important five points by any GLMS Trojan basketball player in a long time.

A packed Gordon Lee Middle School gymnasium to watched Peco bury a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to keep his team alive, and then watched him connect on what turned out to be the two game-winning free throws with just under 10 seconds to go as the Trojans claimed their first tournament title since 2012 with a thrilling 27-26 victory over Heritage.

"We know Heritage is a great team and that they are really well-coached," Gordon Lee head coach Bradley Floyd said. "We had to fight for this one, but this is what we wanted all year. These boys worked hard in practice every day and they really wanted it."

It was a low-scoring battle between the league's two division winners from the very opening tip.

The score was tied at eight midway through the second quarter when Bo Solmon dropped in a big 3-pointer to put the Trojans by three. Each team would add this one more basket in the first half and Gordon Lee would carry the three-point cushion, 13-10, into the locker room.

But a switch to a full-court press by the Generals began to give the Trojans problems in the second half. A steal on an inbound pass led to a bucket by Franklin Almonte Arias and Heritage would take its first lead, 14-13. The Generals would maintain the advantage and took a slim 19-17 lead into the fourth quarter.

Heritage looked inside to Nick Hanson, who hit two straight buckets in the paint to give the Generals their biggest lead of the day, 23-17, with just under four minutes to go. However, Gordon Lee would throw two long inbound passes to Jake Poindexter to beat the press and his two lay-ups pulled the Trojans back to within a point, 23-22, with 2:52 remaining.

The Generals called a timeout to regroup and stunned the Trojans when play resumed as Arias hit a fall-away 3-pointer to push their advantage back to four.

The score would stay 26-22 for nearly two full minutes as neither team could get anything to drop, either from the foul line or the floor.

That's when Peco struck.

His initial shot from the corner in front of his own bench fell off the mark, but after an offensive rebound by Gordon Lee, Peco found the ball in his hands once more and this time he drained a high, arcing 3-pointer to pull his team back within a point as the Gordon Lee side of the gym erupted.

Heritage would miss a foul shot, but Gordon Lee failed to capitalize on the other end, forcing the Trojans to foul once more with 12.7 seconds left. The gamble paid off as the Generals missed from the line again and this time it was Peco drawing the foul as he went high to corral the rebound.

A timeout was called, but the brief break had no effect as Peco stepped to the line and swished both free throws with 9.9 seconds to play to finally put Gordon Lee back in front and send the Trojans supporters into a state of delirium.

The Generals would get off one shot before the final horn, but Cooper Terry's off-balance runner in traffic only found the backboard and the Trojans were able to grab the loose ball as time expired.

"I gave (Peco) a hug afterward and told him he had ice in his veins,"

Floyd said. "It's stuff we practice every day and he really stepped up. He wanted the shots and he took them."

Poindexter, who scored his 500th career point early in the game, finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds to earn tournament MVP honors. Peco pulled down four boards to go with his five points. Logan Simerley had four points. Solmon finished with three and Will Carswell had one on a key free throw in the fourth.

Arias had 15 points to lead all scorers, while Hanson finished with six.

"This feels great and for me, it's all about God's glory," Floyd added. "He gives us this chance to come work every day. It's been a great opportunity for these kids and it was great to be able to get (a championship) back for our school.

"Plus, it feels pretty good to have won a (championship) banner here as a player and now to win one as the coach."

Dade County girls 34, Trion 22

Upset-minded Trion trailed Western Division champion Dade County by just two points at halftime, 17-15, and overcame a 2-point fourth quarter to pull back to within four points, 24-20, with six minutes to play.

But the Lady Wolverines would score 10 points in the fourth, all at the foul line, to hold the Lady Bulldogs at bay and win a second straight NGAC title in front of a standing-room-only crowd earlier in the day.

Kami Counts had nine points for Dade, followed by tournament MVP Jayda Wood and Claire Mullins with eight each. Bailey Davis finished with seven points.

Chloe Murdock had seven for Trion, followed by Jayce Helms with six and Summer Vaugh with five.

Bobcats' week features both highs and lows

If there was any one word to describe the past week for the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats, "interesting" would certainly be near the top of the list.

The Bobcats snapped a two-game losing streak, started a two-game winning streak, saw said two-game winning streak halted, were held to their lowest point total all season long and set a new season mark for fewest points allowed – in the same game – and set a new season-high for points in a game, all in a span of just six days.

The final tally is that the Bobcats began the week with a 10-9 overall mark, headed into Monday's contest against the Tennessee Wesleyan JV squad, details of which were unable to be included in this week's edition.

Ga. Northwestern 49, Welch College 45

It certainly won't go down as the prettiest win of the season, but after two straight losses, any win could be considered a good one.

The Bobcats got out to a huge early lead and saw it completely disappear before they came back to score a victory over the visiting Flames last Tuesday at the Rossville Athletic Center.

The 45 points by the Flames were the fewest the Bobcats have allowed in a game this season, but it was also the fewest points scored by the Navy-and-Silver this year.

Georgia Northwestern blew an early 18-2 lead and held just a 25-23 lead at intermission.

Welch would take its first lead of the game in the opening moments of the second half and they would push the advantage to 37-31 with 13 minutes to play.

However, the Bobcats would battle back to tie things up with 10:30 remaining on a steal and subsequent lay-up by Daniel Parrish. Just over a minute later, sharpshooter Patrick Simmons drained a 3-pointer, giving the Bobcats a 40-39 lead.

The home team would never trail again, but it would have to work to keep the lead. Welch would get it back to a one-possession game with a minute to play, but the Bobcats would force an important turnover with 35 seconds left.

Daniel Parrish had 15 points to lead the way for the Bobcats, while he added six rebounds. Darrius Fugh scored 10 points and had a team-high eight boards, while Demonte Parker had seven points and seven rebounds.

Patrick Simmons scored nine on three 3-pointers and Alec Rattanaxay finished with eight points. The Bobcats shot just 33.3 percent on the night (18-of-54), but limited the Flames to just 25 percent shooting (18-of-72) from the floor.

Ga. Northwestern 101, Bryan College (JV) 95

This past Thursday night in Dayton, Tenn., the Bobcats erased a four-point halftime deficit and cracked the century mark, but needed every point they could get to polish off a sweep of the Lions this season.

The 101 points were the most points the Bobcats have scored this season and the most points the Bobcats have scored in any game since a 98-87 win over LaGrange College (JV) on Nov. 17, 2015.

Bryan led 47-43 at intermission and the back-and-forth action would continue in the second half as the scoreboard lit up at a torrid pace.

Georgia Northwestern led 9690 when Bryan hit its eighth 3-pointer of the second half and 17th of the game to pull within three at 96-93 with 32 seconds left. But the Bobcats would win it at the line as Fugh, Parrish and Parker would go 5-of-6 at the charity stripe in the closing seconds to keep the Lions at bay.

Fugh had 29 points and 12 rebounds. Parrish had 21 points and eight assists. Parker went for 19 points and seven boards, while Simmons went 6-of-10 from behind the arc and finished with 18 points.

West Georgia Tech 89, Ga. Northwestern 86

The Bobcats led by one with 1:01 to play

on Saturday, but the visiting Golden Knights would hearts in closing seconds as they left Rossville with a three-point win, ending Georgia Northwestern's modest two-game winning streak.

The Bobcats would lead by double digits for most of the first half and led by as many as 13 in the opening 20 minutes. But Joe Boyer would score 17 in the first half for the Golden Knights to keep them in the game.

West Georgia Tech began to slowly chip away at the lead in the second half, finally making it a one-possession game with 11:45 to go. But Darius Floyd would hit a 3-pointer for the Bobcats, temporarily pushing the lead back to six, 68-62, with 10:30 remaining.

The lead was still six with 6:40 to go, but the Knights would reel off nine unanswered points to take their first lead of the game, 79-76, with 4:44 left to play.

The two former region foes would go back and forth over the next four minutes before Darius Floyd drained his third trey of the game to give his team an 86-85 lead with 61 seconds to go.

But Boyer immediately answered with his game-high 23rd and 24th points of the night and Parrish couldn't connect on a turnaround jumper in the lane with 25 seconds to go, forcing the Bobcats to foul.

Bryan Foster would hit two free tosses to up the lead to three and that would be enough as Floyd's potential game-tying 3-point attempt from the corner bounced off the iron with two seconds left.

Fugh and Parrish had 21 points each for Georgia Northwestern and the duo combined for 12 rebounds. Simmons had 12 points on four 3-pointers, while Floyd had nine points. Rattanaxay scored just four points, but collected four steals and dished out 10 assists.

Season of struggles continues for Lady Bobcat hoopsters

The Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats are still in search of that elusive first win of the season after enduring three tough losses at the hands of four-year schools this past week.

Welch College 70, Ga. Northwestern 19

The visiting Lady Flames showed absolutely no sluggishness following their trip from Nashville to Rossville last Tuesday as they came off the bus gunning in a big win over the Lady Bobcats.

Welch scored the first 20 points of the game and they would tack on another 11-0 run before the quarter ended to take a commanding 33-5 lead after the game's first 10 minutes.

They enjoyed their biggest lead of the first half at intermission as they led 42-7.

Sharqueva McCoy led the Lady Bobcats with eight points and eight rebounds. Taylor Hines scored six points, followed by Carrie Benedict with four and Sprite Dyer with one.

Bryan College JV 85, Ga. Northwestern 37

The Lady Bobcats put two players in double figures this past Thursday night, but it wasn't enough to get past the Lady Lions, who posted a win in Dayton, Tenn.

Dyer had 15 points and seven rebounds in the loss. Katy Phillips finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists, while McCoy had nine points and 11 boards. Benedict rounded out the scoring with two points to go with five rebounds.

Hiwassee women 72, Ga. Northwestern 25

It was Pink Night for Breast Cancer Awareness at the Rossville Athletic Center, but the Lady Tigers from Madisonville, Tenn. left the Lady Bobcats feeling blue after a win in Saturday's opener.

Hiwassee led 4217 at the break as they dropped Georgia Northwestern to 0-15 on the year.

McCoy had 10 points to lead the Lady Bobcats. Dyer and Hines added five each. Phillips finished with three points and Benedict had two.

The Lady Bobcats will play again this Friday at 5 p.m. at Toccoa Falls College.