Crisp County boys coach Terry Smith is taking his Cougars back to the state playoffs.
ALBANY — They say the Monroe gym is shooter-friendly, small, cozy, with forgiving rims and backboards.
Just don’t tell that to Albany High.
The Indians missed their first five shots of the night, went to halftime shooting just 24 percent (6-for-25) and fell to Crisp County, 57-46, on Friday in the Region 1-AAAA boys consolation game at Monroe, where nothing seemed to fall right for Albany High.
Crisp, the defending region champs, had split two games with Albany in the regular season but won the game that sends the Cougars to next week’s state playoffs as the No. 3 seed. Albany High (13-13) will hit the road next week and face the winner from Region 4-AAAA in what’s sure to be a tough first round.
“Going to Atlanta is noting new to us,’’ said Crisp coach Terry Smith, whose team played in a holiday tournament in Atlanta. “I think we’ll be fine.’’
He was especially proud of the way his young team bounced back from a 95-68 loss to Westover on Thursday.
“They must have shot 89 percent against us in that game,” Smith said. “This game (against Albany) was a gut-check for us. With a young team, I think they responded well.’’
Westover might have burned the nets down against Crisp, but Albany shot 26 percent for the night.
Still, it was close for a while. The Indians led after the first by a point and trailed by only four at halftime (25-21) when Tyler Cheese hit a 3 at the buzzer. The Indians closed to 29-28 midway in the third, but Crisp’s Condell Woodson hit a 3 and the Cougars took control when Montre Hartage, a junior, then hit a pair of free throws and a drive with 1:24 left in the third. Cheese was called for an intentional foul and Hartage completed both free throws and a rare and-two play to lift Crisp to 38-28 lead.
Albany High opened the fourth by missing its first four shots and never got closer than nine points the rest of the night.
“This is the gym,’’ Albany High coach Archie Chatmon of the friendly shooting atmosphere. “We had no energy and nothing went right for us. We told our kids that if you can’t get up for this game, then something is wrong with you. I guess something was wrong with us.’’
Crisp (11-16) was led by Javoris Cooks, who dropped in 17, and Hartage (10) and Woodson (nine points). Albany High, which moved from Class AA to Class AAAA this season, still makes the playoffs after losing every starter form it’s Elite 8 team from a year ago. The Indians were led by Malik Dungee-Ali, who scored 17, and Emmanuel Byrd had eight points, 12 rebounds and a blocked shot for Albany.
Blackshear leads Lady Panthers to No. 3 state seed
ALBANY — Sophomore Dekayla Blackshear had only six points at halftime and didn’t even play in the third quarter, but everyone at Americus-Sumter was glad she was in the game at the end.
Blackshear scored eight points to ignite a 10-0 run to lead the Lady Panthers to a 41-34 win against Cairo on Friday in the Region 1-AAAA consolation game at Monroe.
The two teams had split games during the regular season and had fought through seven ties and nine lead changes before Kayla Bowens made a steal and a drive to give Americus a 31-27 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Cairo, the sixth-seeded team in the tournament which had fought its way to the third-place game by beating Albany High and Crisp County earlier this week, bounced back and took a 32-31 lead when Alicia Hampton hit a 3-pointer and Daneesha Edward made a steal and a drive with 6:10 left to give the Lady Syrup makers a one-point edge.
That’s when Blackshear showed up.
She went 4-for-4 from the field started the 10-0 run with a drive from a slick pass from Bowens, and then hit a putback to give A-S a 35-32 lead. She finished the run with a steal and coast-to-coast drive and another putback to make it a 41-32 game with two minutes left.
Blackshear finished with 14 points, and Bowens scored 12 for the Lady Panthers. Americus-Sumter (18-7) now enters next week’s state playoffs as the No. 3 seed and Cairo (9-20), which was led by Edward’s 25-point effort, will be the No. 4 seed and play the top-seeded team from Region 4-AAAA next week.