Bearcats win, in Final 4

Published 9:14 pm Friday, March 6, 2009

Fort Valley, Ga.—Antroine Williford scored nine of his 12 points in the second half and dominated the backboards in leading the Bearcats to a 50-46 victory over Statesboro High School Blue Devils Friday.

The win puts the Bearcats in the Final 4 Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to play against Tucker at the Gwinnett Arena. Tucker beat Marist 49-47 Friday to earn their berth.

“Antroine Williford was really the big difference for us in the second half. He powered his way in for several layups and pulled down a lot of key rebounds,” said Bearcat coach Rickey McCullough Friday following the game.

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The Bearcats led just 45-43 when James Lodman went up for a slam dunk with 23 seconds left in the game to put the Bearcats up 49-43. Lodman also had a big slam dunk at the end of the third quarter that tied the game 36-36 that McCullough said gave the team a lot of momentum going into the fourth quarter.

The game started with hot shooting by the Blue Devils. They quickly went up 4-0 with layup off the right glass by Mario Jackson just 60 seconds into the game and a slam dunk by Theo Rich at the 7:35 mark.

The Blue Devils led most of the first half, and were ahead by eight, 32-24, at halftime, McCullough said that concerned him somewhat at halftime.

“We were not pressing and getting after them like we should have in the first half. We came out aggressive in the third quarter and stayed that way the rest of the way.” McCullough said. “We knew that Statesboro was an outstanding team, and we would have to play better in the second half to win.”

The win moves the Bearcats record 27-3 overall, and it was their 18 straight win.

The Blue Devils finish 25-5, and it was their first loss in eight games.

Joining Williford in the double figures for the Bearcats were Lodman with 12, Melzie Johnson with 11, and Marquis Williams with 10.

JaQwan Raymond of the Blue Devils took game-scoring honors with 17. Kelsey Walked scored 14.