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Wolfpack hold off Warriors in final seconds for first subregion win

Posted: January 26, 2014 - 1:00am
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Grovetown's Kenny Joseph puts up a shot during a boy's high school basket ball game between Grovetown High School and Greenbrier High School at Grovetown High School on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 in Grovetown, Georgia. Sara Caldwell/staff  Sara Caldwell
Sara Caldwell
Grovetown's Kenny Joseph puts up a shot during a boy's high school basket ball game between Grovetown High School and Greenbrier High School at Grovetown High School on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 in Grovetown, Georgia. Sara Caldwell/staff

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With two of their top players – Kayshawn Marshall and Rod Demmons – out of action, the Greenbrier High School Wolfpack made a breakthrough Tuesday night.

Sparked by sophomore Justen Hartfield’s 25 points, the Wolfpack held off the host Grovetown Warriors to earn their first subregion victory of the year.

“We’re a team that’s been in a lot of games and lost games because of poise I feel like,” said Wolfpack head coach Casey Heckathorn. “Granted we still had a couple of areas to work on in there, there were a couple we gave away. We took a big step in that direction of learnng how to finish.”

The Warriors certainly didn’t make it easy, however.

The Wolfpack (9-10, 1-4 Region 2A-AAAAA) and Warriors (8-10, 1-4) set the theme for the night early when the Wolfpack jumped out to a 14-6 lead, just to see the Warriors outscore them 10-0 to take a 16-14 lead.

Twice more the Wolfpack would build leads of nine and eight points only to see the Warriors reel them back in. The teams were tied at 46 when the Wolfpack used a 12-3 run to lead 58-49 with 1:59 to play.

Hartfield led the run with eight points, all on driving layups to the hoop.

“Since our leading two scorers are gone, coach said if I see it, take it,” Hartfield said.

Like earlier, the Warriors weren’t finished. They had eight offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and pounding the ball down low was paying off in the final two minutes. They were able to get to the free-throw-line 10 times in that span and sank six, cutting into the Wolfpack’s lead with the clock stopped.

After the Wolfpack missed the front end of two 1 and 1’s, Demetrius Middleton, who had three offensive rebounds in the quarter, put back a miss and the Warriors deficit was cut to 58-54 with 1:03 to play. The Warriors forced a five-second violation on the ensuing inbounds and Solomon Gause, who paced the Warriors with 22 points, was fouled and hit one of two free throws and the Warriors trailed 58-55 with 48 seconds remaining.

After trading free throws, the Wolfpack appeared to have put the game away for good when AJ Hawes (14 points) sank two free throws with 9.2 seconds left in the game to give them a 63-57 lead.

Kenny Joseph drilled a 3-pointer to make it 63-60 with 4.4 seconds to play, the Wolfpack missed two free throws but survived when Gause’s long 3-pointer bounced off the backboard as the buzzer sounded.

Middleton finished with 11 points and Ray Abraham chipped in with 10.

“I thought our team effort was very good,” said Warriors’ head coach Daniel Jordan. “I mean we pressed them at the end and it kind of got us back in the game. They made one adjustment on the press that gave them a bucket that was big.”

GREENBRIER 63,

GROVETOWN 60

Greenbrier (63)-Justen Hartfield 25, Jakob Nelson 5, Allen Walls 6, Neheimia Baker 5, AJ Hawes 14, Josh Smith 8. Totals: 23 13-19 63.

Grovetown (60)-Solomon Gause 22, Kenny Joseph 7, Logan Morris 5, Demetrius Middleton 11, Ray Abraham 10, Desmond Sampson 3, Tarik Turner 2. Totals: 18 17-26 60.

Greenbrier 14 13 17 19 – 63

Grovetown 12 13 11 24 – 60

3-point goals: Greenbrier 4 (Hartfield, Baker, Hawes, Nelson); Grovetown 7 (Gause 4, Abraham, Joseph, Morris)

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