COLUMBUS -- Giant killers?
How about giant makers?
What else would you call Terrell County's Greenwave? A team that made a promise to each other at the beginning at the season to get back to the Final Four, and then did it Friday night with style, panache and some grit and toughness.
You call 'em promise keepers.
That's what the Greenwave are, really. They kept their word, their promise and more handling Turner County, 59-49, at Columbus State to advance to the GHSA Class A Final Four in Macon for the second year in a row.
"We're going back. We're going back home,'' said Dekoven Ware, who scored 14 points and had eight rebounds against a taller, more physical team from Turner that did everything but draw blood under the Terrell County basket all game.
But in the end Turner (22-10) was just "another giant,'' that fell. That's the way Terrell County coach John Davis sees it. His kids, who don't have a starter taller than Ware, who is 6-foot, simply refuse to be intimidated anybody.
They are giant killers.
And Davis can adjust on the fly with anyone. Just look at Friday's biggest rebound -- the one TC made after the first half that summed this game up.
Turner's post, 6-5 Demarcus Daniels, scored all 11 points for the Rebels in the first quarter and grabbed nine rebounds. At halftime, he had 15 points and 11 boards. He finished the game with 18 points and 14 rebounds with a 3 & 3 second half.
"We just had to keep after it,'' Ware said. "We kept taking it to them.''
They did, and thanks to another brilliant game by Herald Super 6er Terel Hall, the Greenwave never trailed in this one. Hall finished with 17 points and ran the floor all night. Turner was bigger, but the Greenwave were a step quicker from tip-off to buzzer in this one, and could have won by 20.
They built the lead to 52-38 in the fourth before Turner hit some 3s and drives in the final two minutes to make the final score respectable. The Greenwave led, 40-31, after three, and just took over in the fourth. They even out-rebounded Turner, 15-11 in the fourth to help avenge a loss to Turner two years ago in this same Elite 8 round of the tournament.
"In the fourth quarter, coach said, 'Take it home,' '' Hall said. "And that's what we did.''
Giant makers, indeed.
They got points and big games from everyone. Guards Charles Brown (seven points, five rebounds), Markez Dotson (six points, three rebounds) and sophomore Tray Buchannan, who had two steals in the final 26 seconds of the half that built the halftime lead to 30-24, finished with seven points and five steals.
"Defense was the difference in this game,'' said Hall, who had six steals. "We live by our defense. When we're running and playing our defense, we can beat anybody.''
They forced 23 turnovers and had Turner so frustrated that after Hall stole the ball and called time out with 3:42 left in the game, Turner's Detavian Daniels walked up to Hall with a look of anger and slugged Hall hard in the arm. The official did nothing and when Hall asked the referee about it, Hall was slammed with a technical foul -- in effect, hit hard twice on the same play.
But Hall and the Greenwave (26-3) have been resilient all year, and even after losing starter Brian Browner to a knee injury just before the region tournament, and playing with the one of the shortest teams in the entire tournament, they have once again made it to the Final Four, where they might meet the team that ended their season a year ago.
If Whitefield Academy beats North Cobb Christian tonight, the rematch of last season's controversial overtime loss in the Final Four will be at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Instead of dancing in joy on the court after the win, the Greenwave huddled, arm-in-arm at the center of the court. It wasn't so much the end to a joy ride to get to Macon as much as it was answering the call to a mission.
"That's what it was,'' Davis said. "It was a mission; their mission to get back to the Final Four. I can't say anything after this game except it's all about them. They did it. They fulfilled their goal to get back to Macon. They set the goal and fulfilled the dream. They completed the mission.''