SYLVANIA — It was a dead heat through one half of play, but James Gunn’s 3-pointer to open the third quarter gave Metter the lead for good as the Tigers picked up a hard-fought 71-55 victory over Screven County Friday night in Sylvania.
For the Tigers, Friday’s win served as a nice bit of payback. Metter has dropped just two games so far this season, with one coming at the hands of the Gamecocks two weeks ago.
"We felt that we could have done a much better job in the first game," said Metter coach Dwayne Davis. "Screven is a good outside shooting team and still forced us to do things we didn’t want to do, but we kept them from getting inside late and executed well on both sides of the ball."
The contest started out sloppy for both sides as Screven and Metter combined for 11 turnovers in the first five minutes of play.
After falling behind early, Metter stormed its way to a 13-8 lead late in the first quarter, but Screven answered right back, going on a 6-0 run to take a 14-13 lead early in the second quarter.
A 3 by Davas Reason and a Reason put-back gave the Gamecocks a 23-20 lead in the waning minutes of the first half, but a free throw by Metter’s Devin Dekle and two more from Devin Byrd — who led all scorers with 19 — with just 1.3 seconds remaining sent the teams into the locker room all tied up.
After Gunn’s 3 to open the second half, Screven continued to battle, but could never quite pull even.
Jemelle Lanier drilled a 3 from the left corner to draw the Gamecocks within a point midway through the third quarter, but Metter ended the period on an 18-6 run to take a comfortable 48-36 lead into the final quarter.
"The biggest difference for us tonight was our composure," said Davis. "Screven made some runs, but we stayed poised and kept getting points when we needed them."
Screven clawed its way back into the game, and a Deonte Badger layup pulled the Gamecocks within 53-49 with just over three minutes to play, but consecutive buckets by Mike Edwards and Ryan Sparks built the Tiger lead back to nine and Screven wasn’t able to come up with any more magic.
Lady Gamecocks 58, Lady Tigers 29
It was smooth sailing for the Screven County girls Friday evening as they rolled to a 58-29 blowout victory over Metter.
The Lady Gamecocks (10-1) dominated from the second quarter on, scoring 32 of the game’s final 48 points to walk away with the lopsided win.
Bria Lonon and Destiny Brewton paced Screven with 10 points each and 11 different Gamecocks notched points on the night.
Brittany Deloach led all Metter scorers with nine points.
Screven controlled the game from the start, but 14 first half fouls on the Gamecocks enabled the Tigers (0-9) to stay within striking distance for awhile.
But the Tigers were unable to capitalize on their free throw attempts — Metter was just 11-for-27 from the line for the game — and Screven held them to just one point over the final five minutes of the first half to pull out to a commanding 32-12 lead at the break.
Even with their reserves playing much of the second half, the Gamecocks continued to pull away, building the lead to 30 points at the end of the third quarter and coasting to the final buzzer.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.