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Portal comes up just short against Calvary

    MILLEN — Portal’s Akeem Oglesby experienced both joy and heartache within a span of a few seconds in the Region 3-A basketball tournament here Friday night.
        He drilled a three-pointer with 14.9 seconds remaining in the game to pull the Panthers to within one, 54-55, in their semifinal matchup with Calvary Day School.
    After the Cavaliers’ Tyrone Riley hit the front end of a one-and-one situation with 5.3 left, the Panthers got the rebound when the 6-7, 260-pound North Carolina State signee missed his second shot.
    Taking a pass on the wing, Oglesby drove the baseline and curved into the lane. He went up for the game-tying jumper but Calvary’s Luke Baham timed it just right and batted the ball away at the buzzer.
    “It just wasn’t our night,” said Portal head coach Jeff Brannen after his squad fell 56-54. “Our guys battled hard. Calvary is a good basketball team and, down the stretch, they did a good job slowing the ball down and working it inside.”
    Calvary advanced to tonight’s championship game against the winner of Friday night’s late game (Claxton vs. Treutlen County).
    The upset loss puts a kink in the road of the Panthers’ drive to the state playoffs.
    “We’ll have to wait and see,” said Brannen. “We are seventh in the power rankings. I don’t think we’ll slide too many spots. We will know our destiny on Tuesday.”
    Down by five, 45-40, at the end of the third quarter, the Panthers (20-7) opened the fourth with an 8-0 run. Oglesby, who led PHS with 16 points, hit the front end of a one-and-one with 5:25 left for a 48-45 Panther lead.
    But the Cavs (16-11) were able to navigate the full-court press and went on their own run. Riley’s size made him the go-to guy in the lane but it was guard A.J. Keene who engineered a 9-0 run for a 54-48 lead at the 2:31 mark. Keene scored a game-high 25 points.
    Tyler Budgett hit a floater with 2:19 to trim the Cavalier lead to three, 54-51. Budgett netted 12 points. Portal was poised for the comeback but the three-point shots that had been blistering the net earlier in the game rolled around the rim in the clutch.
    “A lot of our shots that usually fall didn’t,” said Brannen. “We stayed too much on the perimeter.”
    In the beginning, the Panthers didn’t have an answer for Riley and the NBA-sized player dominated. Calvary took a 17-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
    Portal’s Trent Thomas was given the task of handling the Cavalier big man. The Savannah squad pulled out to a 22-11 lead by the 5:55 mark of the second quarter. But the behemoth tired easily and Thomas was able to rally his team, scoring eight of his 11 points to pull his team to within three, 29-26, at intermission.
    In the third, Portal’s D’Von Moore got the hot hand, pounding three three-pointers as PHS took a 39-38 lead with 3:07 left. Moore had 12 points on the night.
    But Keene pushed back and led a 6-2 charge for a 45-40 lead at the horn.