CLAXTON — The Claxton Tigers saw a 14 point lead shrink to within four with just over two minutes to play, but Metter’s late charge fell just short as Claxton held on for a 59-55 victory Tuesday night at the Tiger’s Den.
Nip-and-tuck throughout the opening half, it looked like Claxton (16-5, 8-1 Region 3-A) was in control as it took a 52-38 advantage early in the fourth quarter. But Metter dug down and pulled out an 8-0 run to get back into the game and clawed to within 56-51 with 1:55 to go before Claxton finally regrouped to run out the clock.
“It was definitely a little closer than we wanted,” said CHS coach Eric Bluestein. “Metter is a good team though, so that’s going to happen. I’m glad we stayed focused through the end.”
As has been the case all season, Claxton looked to LeBron Glover to lead the way. The junior guard racked up 28 points — 19 of which came in a first half that saw Glover go 6-for-6 from both the field and the free throw line — as Metter was unable to find a way to slow him down.
“That’s just LeBron,” said Bluestein. “He’s like an extension of me out there. When things got close at the end, I knew I could count on him to direct the rest of the team and get the job done.”
In the first half, Claxton needed Glover’s efforts to keep pace.
Claxton held a lead for most of the first two periods, but Metter’s Devin Byrd (21 points) matched Glover and the rest of CHS shot for shot to keep things close.
The most breathing room Claxton could grab came just before the buzzer as Trey Hines sank a layup to put the Tigers in front 35-31.
Claxton started to pull away in the third quarter thanks to their transition game.
Glover found Hines for another layup before he hit a free throw and a quick jumper as Metter struggled to get back on defense.
“When we found our rhythm, we started to play well,” said Bluestein. “You could see the difference when Metter couldn’t get into its sets.”
With its chances starting to fade, Metter looked inside for help.
Senior forward Mike Edwards scored all but two of his nine points late in the second half to start the MHS charge.
Glover finally put the nail in Metter’s coffin with a pair of foul shots with less than 20 seconds to play.
Byrd capped the scoring with another layup, but it was too late for Metter to close the gap.
Claxton 61, Metter 32, Girls
The Claxton girls exploded for a 61-32 win over Metter in the first game of the evening.
Polly Murray had a career night as the junior guard went for 21 points, xxxxxx in the dominating win.
Claxton’s defense was stifling from the start, allowing just three Metter points in the opening quarter. The Claxton offense only managed nine of its own in the first eight minutes, but Murray scored eight by herself in the second quarter as Claxton started to dominate and took a 34-9 advantage into halftime.
All the momentum stayed with Claxton as it broke out an 8-1 run to begin the second half. Josannea Brown and Maci Bird connected on consecutive 3’s to give Metter a spark, but Claxton kept its foot to the floor and a 9-2 run to end the period put the mercy clock into action for the final quarter.
Mariah Morgan (12 points) and Deetra Williams (10) also pitched in double-digit efforts for Claxton in the win.
Deanna Dorsey led all Metter scorers with 12 points.
The Claxton boys and girls will conclude their regular season Friday as they celebrate Senior Night against Southeast Bulloch.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.