AAAAA Boys: Miller Grove 50, Allatoona 48

Head Coach Sharman White said before the game that No. 1 Miller Grove (30-2) needed to attack to beat No. 2 Allatoona (31-1) and that’s what they did. They attacked the Buccaneers not only on offense but on defense, surviving previously undefeated Allatoona 50-48 for the program’s seventh title in eight years after Ephraim Tshimanga was unable to get a shot off on the Bucs’ final possession.

Allatoona controlled the tempo and contained Miller Grove’s explosive offense led by McDonald’s All-American and UConn signee Alterique Gilbert. The Bucs got off to a hot start with a 4-0 lead, but turnovers throughout the game prevented Allatoona from taking a complete grasp of the game. 23 turnovers haunted the Bucs while the two teams combined for 24 in the first half with Miller Grove committing just three errors in the second half.

Allatoona turned Miller Grove’s turnovers into seven points in the first quarter. An unexpected lift came in the form of 6-foot-7 senior Randy Legros. The defensive specialist attacked Raylon Richardson and got him into foul trouble early. Legros finished with eight points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

The Wolverines surged ahead to take a 24-20 halftime lead behind the play of Gilbert. The star guard netted eight of his 15 points in the second period. Both he and Aaron Augustin caused the Bucs fits by attacking the hole relentlessly, the two combining to go 13-of-19 from the foul line on the night.

Down four at the half, it was still a game that Allatoona felt it had a chance to win by slowing down one of the state’s most potent offenses. After Miller Grove extended its lead to 27-22, its largest of the game, Allatoona stormed back with a 9-0 run to take a 31-27 edge with 3:30 remaining. With 1:36 to play in the third, sophomore guard Trey Doomes began his first battle with cramps with the Bucs still leading by four.

Allatoona pushed its lead to 37-32 after Doomes found Kevin Perry for an And-1 with 1:19 left, but Augustin would put the Wolverines on his back to end the quarter, collecting a basket plus the foul and then a steal and a lay up to tie the game at 37, five of his team-high 16 points.

The Wolverines trailed 40-37 entering the fourth after Perry banked home a three-ball. Up three with 6:34 remaining, Doomes started to cramp up again. Richardson who was surprisingly outplayed by Legros, nailed a clutch three to knot the game at 44 at the 4:46 mark, still anyone’s game.

Tae Hardy found a bucket inside to regain the lead for Miller Grove 46-44 with 2:35 to play. Down two with 1:44 to go, Doomes missed two free throws and Colin Young made him pay with a jumper to make it 49-45.

Augustin fouled Perry on a three on the following possession and the Coastal Georgia signee sank all three, cutting it to 49-48 with 1:08 left. Mr. Georgia Basketball, Gilbert, was sent to the line with a chance to ice the game but missed the front end of the one-and-one allowing Coach Markus Hood to diagram a play with 19.5 seconds to go.

Instead of getting off a shot, it was Young who came away with the steal and was fouled in the open court.  Young split his free throws with five seconds left setting up one last opportunity for the Buccaneers to complete a dream season and go undefeated but Tshimanga lost the ball on Joshua Jackmon’s leg as it was knocked away and Miller Grove fell on it to secure another banner for Coach White.


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