It wasn’t always easy, but the Buccaneers managed to survive with Marietta on their heels.
Allatoona clinged to leads of two and four points throughout most of the final period and went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line down the stretch to secure a 51-38 victory in the third-place game of its own Lake City Classic.
The Buccaneers’ perfect free-throw shooting late in the game was redemption after they lost Friday’s semifinal against Alexander. In that game, Allatoona was the victim of the Cougars going 10-from-10 down the stretch.
“The shoe was on the other foot (Saturday),” Allatoona coach Markus Hood said.
Daniel Fowler recorded a double double for Allatoona (9-3) with 17 points and 10 rebounds. David Tshamala finished with 15 points after playing a big role to keep the Buccaneers in front in the fourth quarter.
Marietta (3-10) closed in on Allatoona early in the fourth and was only trailing by two points at 33-31 after scoring back-to-back points off turnovers. That prompted Hood to call timeout to get his team refocused.
But even after the timeout, Allatoona couldn’t shake off the Blue Devils. Both teams traded short runs and points over the next 3 minutes, with Tshamala hitting most of Allatoona’s shots.
The turning point came when Allatoona finally made a defensive stop with roughly 2 minutes left to play, as Austin Faulkner rebounded a Raynere Thornton shot attempt. On their next possession, Fowler tipped in a Tshamala miss to take a 43-37 lead.
Marietta was forced to foul at that point, and Allatoona made all eight free throws between Fowler and Forrestt Lane. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers’ defense prevented Marietta from scoring more field goals.
“We changed some things on defense and it created turnovers,” Hood said. “Then, our lead was enough for us to start knocking down some free throws.
After taking a 7-6 lead early in the first quarter and scoring 10 unanswered points to get separation on the Blue Devils, Allatoona never trailed again. Marietta, however, battled its way back in the second when the Buccaneers’ shots stopped falling. J.T. Turner’s jumper capped a 5-0 Marietta run that ended the half with Allatoona leading 21-19.
Allatoona only shot 23 percent in the first half, with most of its misses coming in the second quarter.
Thornton led Marietta with 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds. D.J. Bostick added nine points.
Allatoona 50, Chestatee 47: After failing to hold a lead in the semifinals of the Lake City Classic, the Lady Buccaneers were the ones who came from behind in the third-place game.
Allatoona (5-5) trailed by five after the first quarter and three at the half before making a run in the third to take the lead.
Three players scored in double figures, led by Jessica Finch’s 14 points. Alyssa Dobson finished with 13 and Alexis Ezell tacked on 12.
Brianna Middleton pulled down 16 rebounds for Allatoona.