SGA boys basketball coach David Byrne saw an amazing 19-5 season -- one of the best in school history --- go down in flames during a fourth-quarter collapse by the Warriors, who led defending state champ Frederica all game, only to fall short in the first round of the GISA Class AA State Tournament on Thursday night in Dawson, 40-33.
DAWSON — A 19-5 season at Southwest Georgia Academy is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s what could have been that hurts so bad for the Warriors after Thursday’s first-round playoff loss.
SGA led Frederica Academy, the defending GISA Class AA boys state champs, through three quarters but lost the fourth quarter, 19-7, and eventually the game, bowing out in Round 1, 40-33.
“I hate for this season to end the way it did,” said Warriors head coach David Byrne, who led SGA to its best season in years. “We put so much into it.”
SGA led 26-21 entering the final eight minutes, but Frederica’s press finally broke through and forced late turnovers in a defensive battle in which neither team scored in double figures in a quarter until the Knights’ final rally.
“Two or three turnovers and they’re back in the game,” Byrne said of losing the fourth-quarter lead. “Then we’re struggling to run our offense. It doesn’t make any sense to me right now. We didn’t come in (the fourth quarter) and do what we needed to do. Their big thing was turning us over, and we handled their press well for three quarters.”
Region 3-AA No. 2 seed SGA got 10 points from senior Kameron Whitaker, the only Warrior to score in double digits. Alex Chambless scored nine points, while senior Nate Lingo added eight.
Frederica (18-3), which lost a coin flip to determine a three-way tie for first in its region and ended up the No. 3 seed from Region 2-AA, was led by Sam Heery’s 22 points. Heery and the Knights killed SGA at the free throw line in the fourth, scoring 11 of their 19 points at the line.
Frederica moves on to face Furtah Prep Saturday at Middle Georgia College, a rematch of last year’s GISA Class AA state title won by the Knights.
SGA, meanwhile, loses seniors Whitaker, Lingo and Billy Grimsley and will see its region shaken up next season with the addition of Westwood and Sherwood. SGA does return some experience, namely the Chambless brothers, that led the Warriors on a great regular season run that ended with a loss in the region title game and a first-round playoff defeat to close out the postseason.
Not hardly the way they wanted things to end.
“Not even close,” Byrne said.
TIFTON — The Westwood boys advanced to the Class A Elite 8 on Thursday with a 64-25 rout of Twiggs, thanks to three double-figure scorers: Brody Collins (15 points), Mitch Good (14) and Jamie Davis (10).
For the Wildcats, there was no hangover from the Region 3-AAA Championship they won last weekend.
“I was a little worried about that, but we came out strong and got ahead early and just played well,” said Westwood coach Al Timmerman, whose team led, 39-14, at halftime.
The win now advances the Wildcats to Saturday’s Elite 8 round against Solid Rock Christian at 5:30 p.m. at ABAC.
CRISP ACADEMY BOYS 60, PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN 36: Nick Culpepper scored 22 points to lift the Wildcats into the Elite 8 round of the Class A State Tournament, where they’ll face Dawson Street on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at ABAC.
The Wildcats rebounded nicely from a region title loss to Westwood during which they scored only 17 points.