SGA's McKinley Chambless finished with 15 points --- including a rim-rattling alley-oop dunk in the first quarter --- to set the tone during a huge win against Fullington on Friday in Damascus to put the Warriors in first place in GISA Region 3-AA.
DAMASCUS — Alex Chambless flicked the ball to McKinley Chambless, and just like that the rout was on.
The alley-oop between the two cousins on the opening play of Friday’s game ignited the Southwest Georgia Academy crowd and set the tone for the Warriors to open up a 29-4 lead against Fullington Academy and eventually cruise to a 59-32 victory in a showdown for first place in GISA Region 3-AA.
SGA coach David Byrne called it his team’s most complete, dominating game of the season — and that dunk, which the cousins have practiced over and over but didn’t nail it until Friday, was what got it all started.
“Coach called it in the locker room, and I was like, ‘We have got to do this. We need to set the tempo of this game,’ ” said the 6-foot-4 McKinley Chambless, who flawlessly timed his jump to catch the ball, which was lofted by Alex from outside of the 3-point arc. “Right when I felt it, I knew it was going to be good. And then everybody went crazy.”
The slam went down, and Fullington wasn’t far behind.
The Warriors (15-3, 7-1) were on fire in the first quarter, hitting 10-of-15 from the field and 4-of-7 from 3-point range. By the time Fullington (15-7, 6-2) had a chance to blink, SGA had jumped out to a 25-point lead that only increased as the game went on.
“Everything we put up was going in tonight,” Byrne said. “It was something to watch.”
Two weeks ago when the two teams met up at Fullington, SGA’s shooting was something to forget. The host Trojans handed the Warriors their only region loss, 51-42, on Jan. 13, and Friday’s rematch was all SGA senior guard Kameron Whitaker could think about for the past two weeks.
“Since that night I was thinking, ‘When they come to Damascus, I just want to destroy them,’ “ Whitaker said. “That was my goal, to give them a beating.”
The whoopin’ Whitaker put on the Trojans may sting for awhile. He led the Warriors with 18 points and did most of his damage in the first quarter, hitting 5-of-5 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3-point range and scoring 13 points.
The Warriors were riding a six-game winning streak since that Jan. 13 loss and were coming off blowout wins against Randolph Southern and Valwood earlier in the week. After beating Valwood by 27 on Tuesday, Byrne changed up the team’s schedule.
“I had never done it since I have been here, but on Wednesday I gave the guys a day off,” Byrne said. “I told them to take a day off, go home and rest, sleep, because we have to be ready for Friday night.”
Byrne may have discovered a new tradition before these huge region matchups. However, the Warriors won’t have too much time to rest before another possible matchup between the two teams in the region title game in Fullington in two weeks. SGA is all alone in first place, and Fullington is in sole possession of second place, making another rematch in the championship game a possibility.
“I’m hoping it is,” Fullington coach Van Bailey said about a possible rubber game with the Warriors. “I definitely think (SGA) will be in there. I just hope we take care of business, too.”
The Warriors were taking care of business Friday night. After jumping out to their huge lead in the first quarter, they refused to let Fullington claw back into the game. SGA took a 39-15 lead into halftime and extended the advantage to a game-high 30 points at the end of the third quarter.
However, the Warriors weren’t just winning the game with their shooting. Their defense forced Fullington into 15 turnovers and prevented the Trojans from finding an open shot all night.
“Our offense was just flowing, and we knew that they were going to try to pound it down low,” said McKinley Chambless, who finished with 15 points and two rebounds. “Coach told us to play straight up and not foul, and that’s what we did. And they couldn’t put anything in.”
SGA post players Nate Lingo and Billy Grimsley also helped the Warriors control the glass, grabbing seven and six rebounds, respectively. Grimsley added 11 points for the Warriors, who outrebounded Fullington, 25-13.
Fullington was led in scoring by Nick Neisler and Blake Simmons, who each had six points.
FULLINGTON GIRLS 53, SGA 17: The Lady Warriors didn’t score more than six points in any quarter and dropped to 3-15 overall and 2-6 in region play.
Jenna Kitchings scored a team-high six points for SGA, while Taylor Stuart and Baylee Everson added five and four points, respectively.
Darrion Bailey led Fullington (14-10, 6-2) with 13 points.