Playing in front of a raucous packed house, the Grovetown basketball teams did not disappoint Friday night.
Squaring off against former region foe Harlem, the Lady Warriors led off with a 58-21 win. Then, with the crowd roaring from the opening tip, the Warriors snapped its three-game losing streak and held off the Bulldogs 59-51 in the nightcap.
The Warriors (2-3) jumped out to a 17-9 first-period lead and responded each time the Bulldogs (2-2) made a charge.
Logan Morris led the Warriors with 17 points while knocking down four 3-pointers, perhaps none as big as the one that ended the first half. After the Bulldogs closed the gap to 30-26, Morris’ buzzer-beater sent the Warriors into the locker room up 33-26.
“Morris was solid in the first half and he kept us going,” said head coach Bill Madigan. “It was more of a team effort in the second half.”
In all, 10 players scored for the Warriors, with Tae Miller joining Morris in double figures with 11 points.
It was an aggressively played game on all fronts, indicated by the teams combining for 73 free-throw attempts. The Bulldogs were 20-34 from the line while the Warriors sank 16 of 39.
The Warriors’ struggles from the line all but vanished in the game’s final 46 seconds, however, as the team converted six of eight.
“Free throws are killing us, but we’re working on it,” Madigan said.
Harlem’s Reggie Reid led all scorers with 25 points and helped keep the game close, sinking two free throws to bring the score to 51-48 with 2:32 to play. Jawun Rouse answered with a basket to make it 53-48 and with the score the same a minute later, Rouse blocked a Reid jumper and the Warriors went on to the win.
The Lady Warriors advanced its record to a perfect 4-0, though it took a while to get going.
The team didn’t score its first point until the 5:06 mark of the first period and held just a 8-7 advantage at the end of the period.
Ratcheting up the defensive pressure at the beginning of the second period, however, led to easy transition baskets. Starting her first game, freshman Naomi Hughes scored four of her game-high 16 points during the run, with both baskets assisted by Charisma Shepherd. DiMara Thomas scored four points during the streak and the Lady Warriors went into the break up 26-11.
“We started slow the other night, too,” said Lady Warriors head coach Jamie Echols. “We picked up the tempo and intensity in quarters two through four.”
The Lady Warriors cruised to the win in the second half with Thomas finishing with 14 points and Leah Ferguson adding 10.