There was nothing unusual with how this one went: another Region 3-AAA game, another close finish.
Kyle Doyle hit a free throw with about six seconds left and then a Thomson turnover followed as the Josey boys basketball team won, 58-57, on Friday night.
“They just put in the hard work,” Eagles coach Jabari Levi said. “It was a total team effort.”
Trailing by six points entering the fourth quarter, Josey won with frequent trips to the line and big stops on defense, including important blocks from Robert Askew, who also scored late after pass from Doyle and finished with 15 points.
Josey (15-8, 6-3 subregion) first pulled even with a Darius Williams 3-pointer. He had seven of his 15 points in the final quarter.
Earlier, the Bulldogs led by as many as 11, with John Atkins controlling the inside in stretches. Atkins scored a team-best 16 points.
Ronkeem Sallywhite, who scored all nine points at the foul line, helped Thomson (18-4, 6-3) tie the game at 57 with two free throws.
However, Doyle grabbed an offensive rebound that led to a trip to the line and also forced a turnover.
“I love my guys,” Levi said. “That’s all I can say.”
In the girls game, Brittany Reid scored in the final moments to complete Thomson’s 48-47 rally.
With Thomson down 10 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Lady Bulldogs (13-8, 6-3) methodically came back, inching closer as Josey turnovers assisted their cause.
Alesheia Johnson scored twice on drives, with her second cutting the deficit to three points at 45-42.
Reid then took over, first scoring after an offensive rebound and later making a free throw.
After the Lady Eagles’ Shaniqua Sullivan missed two free throws – Sullivan was unstoppable most of the game with 24 points – Thomson had one more chance against Josey (9-12, 5-4).
Reid caught the inbounds pass and went to the hoop, where she got in close and put in the game-winning bucket.
Thomson girls coach Michael Williams said the team had to regroup after the half. “We kept hitting our heads against the wall. “(Sullivan) was scoring at will.”
So Williams told the squad to double-team Sullivan. “I knew our three could guard their four,” he said. He told his team, which once trailed by 11 points, that there was no need to panic.
The Thomson squads were back in action Tuesday, closing the regular season at Grovetown.