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U-SAVE-IT CLASSIC: Nearly Miller-time

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- For eight minutes Tuesday night, little ol' David had Goliath on the ropes.

Then Goliath threw a haymaker.

With 1.5 seconds left on the clock, Monroe's Robert Arnold hit the back end of a two-shot free throw opportunity to snap a tie game, lifting Tornadoes to a surprisingly close 37-36 U-Sav-It Classic win against scrappy Miller County in the finale for both teams.

"One thing about tournament games is that unexpected things always happen," Monroe coach Marquis Davis said. "And small teams always give us trouble for some reason. We're just glad to get out of here with the win."

Miller County led, 31-28, with 6:42 remaining in the game until a pair of three-pointers from sophomores Jonathon Morine and Nicholas Plummer as time wound down kept the Tornadoes (9-0) from losing for the first time this season.

Plummer's three tied the game at 31-31 and a lay in by Arnold with 5:28 remaining put Monroe on top 33-31.

The Pirates then held the ball for the next two minutes before Makel Price knotted the game at 33-33 with 3:07 to go. Morine then hit his three but Miller's Cosby Salters answered with his own trey to make it 36-36 with 2:08 to go.

After a Monroe miss, Miller regained possession and ran the clock down to 50 seconds when Monroe called a timeout. Miller's Zenario Shuler, who had hit four earlier 3s, rushed another that missed with 11 seconds remaining.

Arnold was then fouled, setting up the game winning free throws.

"We wanted the last shot. We are undersized and we live and die by the three. (Tuesday night), we died," Miller coach Tim Martin said as his squad fell to 4-5. "We didn't try to go into a stall in the fourth quarter, it just kinda happened. We were playing to win and that gave us a chance to catch our breaths."

Shuler led all scorers with 14, while Arnold, who was named to the All-Tournament team, led Monroe with 12.

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STATESBORO 68, ALBANY 52: U-Save-It Classic MVP JaQuan Raymond pumped in six three-pointers enroute to a 29-point game as the Blue Devils rolled past the Indians.

Statesboro held an 11-8 lead going into the second period until Raymond scored 9 points to help push the Blue Devils' lead to 27-17 at the half.

The third quarter wasn't much kinder for Albany as Raymond and Edwin Harvey combined for 17 points. Statesboro then surged to its largest lead of the night at 23 points, 53-30 going into the fourth period. The Indians never got closer than 17 the rest of the way.

Tim Pierce, who also was named to the All-Tournament team, led Albany (6-5) with 18 points.

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SWAINSBORO 53, DOUGHERY 43:

The hard luck continued for Dougherty on Tuesday as the Trojans fell behind early and could never catch up.

Swainsboro led, 11-8, at the end of the first period and pushed that advantage to 26-15 at the half.

Dougherty, led by 19 points from All-Tournament selection Arabian Williams, closed the gap to three points, 39-36 with six minutes remaining in the game, but could get no closer.

Swainsboro was paced with 19 points from junior center Maurice Strong.

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WESTOVER 67, MOUNT ZION 48:

All-Tournament selection Malcolm Sapp bombed away for five three-pointers on his way to a 21-point night as Westover (10-0) remained unbeaten.

Westover spurted to a 19-7 first-period advantage and never trailed.

The Patriots led, 34-28, at the half and the smaller Bulldogs could never get closer than four points, 41-37, with 6:02 to go in the third period.

Sapp's final three-pointer of the night pushed Westover's lead to 21 -- its largest of the game -- with 1:58 to go.

Herald Player of the Week Chris Wheeler added 15 points for the Patriots, while Mt. Zion was led by 15 from Steve Wilson.

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RIVERDALE 66, QUITMAN COUNTY 36:

Riverdale's Denzel Emerson led the way for his team with 10 points, which was good enough to overcome a game-high 15 from Quitman's C.J. Upshaw.

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KEITH (ALA.) 66, MCINTOSH 57:

Keith was led by Ronnie Rosemond, who was the high man with 22 points, followed by Gerald Matthews (16). McIntosh, which lost a close game to Albany on Monday, got 18 points from Jackie Walthour and 10 from Mario Dixon.

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COLQUITT COUNTY 63, SE BULLOCH:

Nate Hill led with 16 points for the Packers, while SE -- which is still winless on the season at 0-10 -- was led by Chris Rogers with 12.

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ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM:

The following players were selected to the U-Save-It All-Tournament team: JaQuan Raymond (79 points in three games), Statesboro -- MVP; Mario Dixon, McIntosh Academy; Robert Arnold, Monroe; Malcolm Sapp, Westover; Tim Pierce, Albany; Arabian Williams, Dougherty.