CANTON — Armel Potter hit a 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play that gave Sprayberry the lead for good as it held on to edge Pope, 59-56, in the semifinals of the Region 7AAAAA tournament at Sequoyah High School on Monday. Just seconds earlier Cole Childers had hit a 3-pointer for Pope, giving the Greyhounds a 55-54 lead. Pope entered the fourth quarter trailing 40-39. The Greyhounds were up by as many as four points early in the fourth, but at the 3-minute mark, the game was tied 48-all following a pair of 3-pointers by the Yellow Jackets’ David Tshamala.
Sprayberry coach Marc Carver said that when his team plays Pope, the game is usually decided in the final 3 minutes.
“I was concerned the whole game, but we made that push to get on top at the end,” Carver said. “I told (Pope) coach (Pat) Abney before the game that we should just put 3 minutes on the clock because we know that it’s going to come down to the very end. We don’t need to play the rest of it. We have had three games with them and they have all come down to the last minute. We expected a tough game.”
With the win, Sprayberry now has a chance to repeat as region champions. It will face either Sequoyah or Osborne in the title game. Last year the Yellow Jackets defeated Creekview 58-56 in the region title game.
“We wanted to repeat,” Carver said. “We know that we are the only team in the
region that can do that. That was one of our goals and (today) we get a shot.”
Pope led early in Monday’s game. The Greyhounds led by as many as seven points in the first half and were up, 29-24 at the break. At the start of the third quarter, Pope extended it’s led to 32-24 before Sprayberry stormed back. At the start of the fourth quarter, Sprayberry was up 40-39.
Chase Hutchins led Pope with 21 points. Also in double-figures were Childers with 17, including five 3-pointers, and Logan Borko, who finished with 12.
Nkem Ojeh led Sprayberry with 17 points. Rshamala scored 15, and Potter finished with 14 points. Wayne Jackson scored 11. The only other Yellow Jacket to score was Jontae Williams, who made just one basket.