After having its first scheduled game of the Gentlemen’s Classic postponed Monday night, Statesboro still had some holiday rust to shake off.
The Blue Devils rattled off a 17-2 run that spanned all of the second quarter and gave them the lead for much of the game, but a furious fourth quarter comeback vaulted Mundy’s Mill to a 53-49 victory Tuesday night.
Trailing, 40-33, with just under six minutes to play, the Tigers launched a 20-9 run to end the ballgame.
“We had our chances down the stretch, but we just couldn’t convert,” said SHS coach Lee Hill, whose squad went just 3-for-10 from the foul line in the final quarter. “We couldn’t get it done and Mundy’s Mill was able to make those shots.”
Drevius Sizemore (14 points) got the Mundy’s Mill offense started early in the second half. Sizemore connected on his first four attempts from behind the arc as Statesboro was unable to find a defensive answer on the perimeter.
Jordan Spann (15 points) posed a similar problem in the first half, hitting a pair of 3s on the Tigers’ first two possessions.
“That’s something that we weren’t really expecting,” Hill said. “Usually, (Mundy’s Mill) doesn’t shoot that well from the outside.”
As the hot shooting stretched out the Devil defense late in the game, the Tigers’ size finally took its toll. Statesboro was faced with a hefty height disadvantage, but battled well throughout the game, limiting the Tigers’ ability to get the ball inside.
That finally changed in the game’s dying minutes as Ebere Azebuke scored all eight of his points from inside the paint during the Tigers’ winning push. Azebuke’s three-point play with 2:34 to play finally put Mundy’s Mill ahead for good.
With 46.8 seconds left, Zaquavian Smith had a chance to tie the game for SHS, but he only connected on one of his two free throws, leaving the Devils trailing 50-49 and accounting for Statesboro’s final point of the night.
The game started off fast and furious as Spann and Yakeem Coleman connected on a pair of 3-pointers each in the opening 2:30.
A pair of free throws and a pull-up jumper by Spann helped the Tigers stretch their lead to 14-11 after the first quarter of action.
Statesboro pulled ahead in the second quarter on the strength of stellar defense.
Another 3-pointer by Coleman, combined with jumpers from Smith, Tavist Wilson and Daniel Houston — plus a pair of Willie Johnson free throws — staked the Devils to what looked like a comfortable lead until the Tigers charged back late.
Statesboro will be back in action at 8 tonight as the Devils host Glenn Hills.
Statesboro will make up Monday’s postponed game against Osborne at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Glenn Hills 76, Bradwell Institute 75
In the game preceding the Statesboro-Mundy’s Mill showdown, Glenn Hills erased an 18-point deficit to wrestle a 76-75 victory away from Bradwell Institute in the waning seconds.
Bradwell seemed to have a firm grasp on the contest, but missed key shots down the stretch that could have salted away a victory.
Trailing, 73-72, with 32.1 seconds to play, Glenn Hills missed a free throw, but got the offensive rebound and got the ball to Michael Stephenson, who drilled a jumper from the elbow for the lead.
Bradwell’s Dazjon Tinae — who led all scorers with 23 points — responded to retake the lead with less than 10 seconds to play, but Glenn Hills’ Aubrey McCrae was fouled racing down the court with 1.1 seconds to play.
McRae calmly knocked down both free throws and the ensuing inbounds pass went wide to run out the clock.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.