Less than 24 hours after a nail-biting loss to Rockmart, the Pepperell boys’ basketball team was back on the court facing the possibility of taking a two-game losing streak into the state playoffs.
But that possibility wouldn’t play out as senior Branson Hanks scored 12 of his team’s 22 points in the final period against Coosa on Saturday to lift the Dragons to a 49-46 win in the Region 7-AA consolation finals.
The victory gives Pepperell the region’s third seed in the Class AA state playoffs, which start next weekend. Coosa will enter as the No. 4 seed. Both teams will be on the road.
Wrapping up their time in the 7-AA tournament at Model, Pepperell fell behind 34-27 after three periods against the Eagles, and Hanks had scored just three points with a 3-pointer in the second period.
But the Dragons (14-10) got a spark from Hanks in the final eight minutes as he hit three treys and went 3-of-4 at the line. Dawson Melton scored six of his eight points in the quarter as well to help Pepperell outscore is opponent 22-12 in the period.
Hanks led Pepperell with 15 points, while Payton Rhoades added 12. In all, 10 Dragons reached the scoring column. Coosa (9-18) was paced by Kenon Dixon and Jaylen Nelson who each scored 12 points.
The Eagles led just 6-4 after the first period but scored 15 in the next two quarters.
GIRLS’ THIRD PLACE
Gordon Cent. girls 45, Pepperell 30
The Pepperell girls’ basketball team faced a tough task in taking on Gordon Central in the Region 7-AA consolation finals Saturday, falling behind early and losing 45-30 at Model.
The Lady Warriors rolled up a 10-3 lead after the first period and led from there, turning the program’s first-ever berth in the state playoffs into a No. 3 seed.
Pepperell (6-18) secured its spot in the playoffs with upsets over Coosa and Chattooga in the region tournament’s opening rounds.
Cara Crump paced Gordon Central (11-13) with 22 points, including four 3-pointers, while Mercedes Coleman added 15.
Pepperell’s Grace Hufford led the Lady Dragons with nine from three 3-pointers.