After a blazing start to the season, the Mary Persons boys basketball team has cooled off considerably, dropping its fourth straight game with a 94-44 blowout non-region loss at Westside (Macon) on Saturday.
The Bulldogs, 10-6 overall (2-0 in Region 2-AAAA), fell behind by 27 points at 48-21 at halftime before the Seminoles stretched their lead out to a whopping 47 points at 83-36 through three quarters en route to a 50-point win.
Westside’s Javian Mosley led all scorers with 28 points and Noles’ teammate Kowacie Reeves Jr. added 27 points.
One night earlier, on Friday, MP fell for the second time this season to non-region Taylor County, losing by one point, 59-58, in overtime on the road. MP led 23-21 at halftime before the Vikings tied the contest at 36-all entering the final period. After knotting at 54-54 through regulation, the Vikings outscored the Bulldogs 5-4 in overtime for the one-point victory. Jabin Ford led the Vikings with 14 points.
On Monday, Dec. 30, the Bulldogs finished in fourth place in their home MP Holiday Classic, falling 64-62 to Druid Hills in the third-place contest.
The Bulldogs led 29-27 at halftime against the Red Devils. After MP’s Ty Bouie opened the third quarter with a long three-pointer, it was teammate Alex Brown who connected on a right elbow trey later in the period to stake the Dogs’ to their biggest lead of nine at 46-37. MP would eventually end the third quarter with a seven-point advantage at 46-39. Then, with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter, Bouie bombed another triple, this one from the left wing, as MP pushed its advantage back out to nine at 51-42. After a steal and layup by Druid Hills’ Ty Wills narrowed MP’s lead to four, the Bulldogs went on another 5-0 run, capped by a Brown layup off of a feed from Lamont Jones to go back up by nine at 56-47.
A Wills’ three-pointer would eventually narrow’s MP edge to three at 58-55 with 3:06 left in the game, but MP answered with a 4-0 run thanks to a pair of Brown buckets, an offensive rebound putback, followed by a jumper from just outside the paint, to put the Dogs’ up 62-55. But with one minute left and MP leading by five, Druid Hills’ Jaden Lingo, who led all scorers with 20 points, got hot from deep. Lingo knocked down a three from the left wing to trim MP’s lead to two at 62-60. Then, with 33.8 seconds left, Lingo swished his second straight triple, this time from the top of the key, to put Druid Hills on top for the first time in the second half, 63-62. Looking to answer, Brown tried a fadeaway from the foul line, which rimmed out and was rebounded by the Red Devils. Druid Hills’ Seth Cushenberry then made one of two free throws to put the Red Devils ahead by two at 64-62 with 11 seconds to play. MP went for the win on the final possession as shooting guard Maurice Shannon got an open look from three on the right wing, but Shannon shot too long and airballed as time expired.
Lingo was joined in double figures by teammates Wills with 13 and Cushenberry with 12. Brown led the Dogs with 13 points. He was joined in double figures by teammates Shannon, Bouie and Dee Morton with 12, 12 and 10, respectively.
MP head coach Greg Nix credited Druid Hills with taking away what at times seemed like a sure win for his team.
“They hit some tough shots down there, three-point shots,” Nix said. “I think they won it. Here’s why. We’re in a zone, and that guy is four feet behind the three-point line. We were there to contest, and he just made shots. And they made their free throws. We’re playing better teams. Today, after getting beat like we did against Veterans (two nights earlier), where we just didn’t compete, I told them, ‘We’re not going to do that anymore where we don’t show up to compete. We’re going to get down there and play tough.’ And we did.”
In the MP tourney nightcap on Dec. 30, Northside (Warner Robins) rallied from a double figure deficit to stun undefeated Veterans 47-44 in the boys championship game.
Veterans sprinted out to a 12-0 lead before the Eagles finally got on the board late in the first quarter. The Warhawks would eventually take a seven-point edge at 28-27 into the half, but the Eagles would answer with an 8-0 run to open the third quarter, taking their first lead of the game at 29-28 with 4:32 left in the third period. Veterans would re-claim a 42-39 advantage entering the fourth quarter, but Northside squared the contest at 44-44 on a three-point play by Tre Grane with 3:47 to play. After the two teams went more than three minutes without a score, Northside’s Jamarcus Thompson got a pair of offensive rebounds and was fouled with 34.4 seconds left. Thompson made one of two free throws to put the Eagles ahead 45-44. Northside’s Jordan Brown then blocked a Veterans’ three-point try from the left corner, and the Eagles got possession. After Grane made a pair of free throws with 13.5 seconds left, Northside took a three-point lead at 47-44, and the Warhawks had one more chance to force overtime. However, Veterans’ DeAngelo Hines missed a corner three, and Northside’s Brown ripped down the rebound at the buzzer to secure the tourney win.
The Warhawks had beaten the Eagles twice already earlier in the season, including a 23-point win over Northside 10 days earlier on Dec. 20. Northside’s Thompson, who scored a game-high 16 points, was named the boys’ tourney Most Valuable Player.
Meanwhile, MP was slated to return to action with a region road contest at Upson-Lee at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. MP will then play at Perry in another region game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday before traveling to Howard to face their third straight region opponent at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
The MP JV boys basketball squad will next play at Perry at 4:15 p.m. on Friday. Also, the MP 9th Grade boys basketball team will next play at Jones County at 6 p.m. on Thursday. In addition, the Monroe County Middle School boys basketball team was next scheduled to play at Byron Middle at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday before heading back on the road to face ACE at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The C-Team boys squad will then return home to host Henderson Middle at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14.