High School Sports

Region 5-AA basketball tournament: Jordan boys, Kendrick girls win region titles

Jordan High coach Gerald Turner said that when his team gets in a groove early, it’s usually able to keep the momentum going for a full 32 minutes.

Call Saturday “Exhibit A.”

The Red Jackets came out of the gate with a hot hand, particularly Tony Palmer who hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter, en route to a 70-44 victory over Spencer in the Region 5-AA tournament championship at Spencer High.

With its win, Jordan (18-6) earned the 1-seed out of the region for the state tournament, beginning Tuesday and Wednesday. Spencer (17-8) dropped to the 2-seed. Region 5 is matched up with Region 8 in the first round.

When asked what went right for his team on Saturday, Turner couldn’t pick just one thing.

“Everything,” he said. “Everything went right tonight.”

That’s the kind of performance a team needs against the region’s stiff competition, he said.

“Any of the final four teams can win in the first round,” he said. “Manchester is a 3-seed, and it’s one of the best teams in the state.”

Jordan’s lead went from eight at the half to 19 after three. By the fourth quarter, the Red Jackets had done all the heavy lifting and spent the majority of the time playing keep-away to run time off the clock.

As a team, Jordan knocked down nine three-pointers in the game, including eight in the first half.

Jamar Sheppard (21 points) and Palmer (20 points) were named co-MVPs for the tournament. Spencer’s Sean Buffen, who notched 18 points in the loss, was named the regular-season most valuable player. Snooki Davis added 14 points for the Greenwave.

Kendrick girls 76, Bremen 39

With five minutes, seven seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Kendrick girls held a modest 38-29 lead over Bremen in the girls Region 5-AA championship game on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Spencer High.

By the end of the quarter, the Lady Cherokees had gone on a 28-2 run to jump in front by 35 points after three. As one fan put it, that was the beginning of the end.

Kendrick (27-0) continued its unbeaten record in the 2012-13 season with a 76-39 win over the Lady Blue Devils (21-6) to clinch the top seed out of the region in the Class AA state tournament.

“In the second quarter, they did some things to us that we normally do to other teams,” said Kendrick coach Sterling Hicks, who added that he had no idea of the run his team went on in the third quarter. “We definitely did a good job coming out in the third quarter. We didn’t make any specific changes, we just did what we’re used to doing.”

Junior Kahlia Lawrence, who led the team with 24 points en route to being named the tournament’s most valuable player, said they just realized at halftime that the effort they were giving wasn’t going to be enough.

“We started off slow,” she said. “At halftime, we just realized we had to play harder.”

That part was evident in the third.

The Lady Cherokees increased the full-court pressure, forcing turnover after turnover and converting on easy layups. At times, they prevented the Lady Blue Devils from even crossing half court.

“It frustrates teams,” Lawrence said. “It gives us momentum. We can’t stress how important momentum is enough.”

Kendrick continued its pressure and fast breaks through all 32 minutes of the game, even when holding a substantial lead. Hick stressed that style of play is meant as no disrespect to the other team, just preparation for the difficult games his team is sure to face in the state tournament.

“We’ve had too many close losses in past years,” he said. “Hopefully, nobody takes it personally. It’s all about preparation.”

Deja Cheatham added 13 points for Kendrick. Bremen was led by Kayleigh Medlin, who had 16 points.

Manchester boys 81, Kendrick 64

The Kendrick boys basketball team fell behind by 19 points early and couldn’t recover in an 81-64 loss to Manchester in the Region 5-AA boys consolation final on Saturday at Spencer High.

The loss dropped the Cherokees (9-18) to the 4-seed in the state tournament, while the Blue Devils (22-5) earned the 3-seed. Region 5 will be matched up against Region 8 in the Class AA playoffs.

Led by a dominant interior game, the Blue Devils scored the game’s first eight points. When Kendrick scored its first three of the game, Manchester followed with a 14-0 run to make it 22-3 just three and a half minutes into the game. After one quarter, Manchester was ahead 28-10.

Kendrick cut the lead to as few as 12 points in the second quarter, but immediately fell out of the game in the third when Manchester went on a 12-2 run to go ahead by 24, 57-33.

Christian Bradford led the Cherokees with 31 points in the loss, followed by 13 apiece from Kentrell Parker and Brian Hampton. Kevis Martin scored 19 for Manchester and Denzel Clements had 18.

Bowdon girls 39, Manchester 36

The Manchester girls basketball team ran out of time in a late comeback attempt against Bowdon on Saturday in the Region 5-AA consolation game at Spencer High.

The Lady Blue Devils had possession with a chance to tie, but only one-tenth of a second left on the clock and couldn’t get a shot off, falling 39-36.

With the loss, Manchester (10-14) falls to the 4-seed out of the region for the state tournament. Bowdon (15-9) earned the 3-seed. Region 5 will be matched up with Region 8 in the first round of the Class AA tournament.

Deaundra Copeland led Manchester with 10 points in the losing effort. Bowdon got 20 points from Jacole Stephens.

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports

Bowdon girls 39, Manchester 36

Saturday at Spencer

Manchester 6 7 11 12—36

Bowdon 15 9 8 7—39

Manchester (36)

D. Copeland 10, S. Copeland 8, Brown 7, McGruder 7, Dunlap 4.

Bowdon (39)

Stephens 20, Phillips 6, McClure 3, Maze 3, Buchanan 3, Meadows 2, Brewer 2.

Records: Manchester, 10-14; Bowdon, 15-9. Next: Feb. 19-20 in state tournament.

Manchester boys 81, Kendrick 64

Saturday at Spencer

Kendrick 10 21 8 25—64

Manchester 28 17 15 21—81

Kendrick (64)

Bradford 31, Parker 13, Hampton 13, Bonner 3, Griffin 2, Denson 1, Brown 1.

Manchester (81)

Martin 19, Clements 18, Addie 11, Campbell 10, Prather 7, Williams 6, Warren 5, Turner 2, Hudson 2, Snelling 1.

Records: Kendrick, 9-18; Manchester, 22-5. Next: Feb. 19-20 in state tournament.

Kendrick girls 76, Bremen 39

Saturday at Spencer

Bremen 10 13 8 8—39

Kendrick 23 9 34 10—76

Bremen (39)

Medlin 16, J. Johnson 7, K. Johnson 5, Hill 5, Clay 4, Golden 2

Kendrick (76)

Lawrence 24, Cheatham 13, Thompson 9, Farley 7, Merritt 7, Porter 4, McKissic 4, Jones 4, Jack 2, Green 2.

Records: Bremen, 21-6; Kendrick, 27-0. Next: Feb. 19-20 in state tournament.

Jordan boys 70, Spencer 44

Saturday at Spencer

Jordan 21 15 20 14—70

Spencer 18 10 11 5—44

Jordan (70)

Sheppard 21, Palmer 20, Z. Smith 12, Daniels 7, Hill 6, C. Smith 4.

Spencer (44)

Buffen 18, Davis 14, Hubbard 6, English 4, Coaxum 1, Langston 1.

Records: Jordan, 18-6; Spencer, 17-8. Next: Jordan, Wed. in state tournament; Spencer, Wed. in state tournament.