McIntosh repeats as region champs

McIntosh repeats as region champs

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For three quarters, Mundy’s Mill stuck with McIntosh, but the Chiefs blew the door open in the fourth quarter for a second consecutive region championship. (Photo by Adam Hagy / www.adamhagyphotography.com)
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Chase Walter dunks the ball during the Chiefs’ 18-2 run. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)

The McIntosh Chiefs are one step closer to their goal of winning a state championship after pulling away for a 69-55 victory over the Mundy’s Mill Tigers Saturday night. The win gives the Chiefs their second straight region championship after winning the first in school history last year.
“I’m just real proud of these guys,” said McIntosh coach Jason Eisele. “It took McIntosh 30-plus years to get a region championship, and we went ahead and did it back-to-back.”
Saturday night was the time to soak in their accomplishment. They won’t have long to enjoy it before they have to get back to work. The Chiefs will host the 18-9 Carver Tigers in the first round of the state playoffs.
“We’ll celebrate a little bit but not too long,” said Eisele. “We’ve got to get back at it.”
They hope it is only the beginning of a long run.
“It’s just a start,” said senior point guard Will Washington. “We’re looking for bigger things.”
Mundy’s Mill gave McIntosh everything they could handle for three quarters. The Tigers actually led briefly at the start of the quarter before one of their key players got a technical foul for taunting and fouled out of the game. The Chiefs took advantage of the swing in momentum and racked up an 18-2 run to put the game out of reach.
“I think we were afraid to lose early. I told them in the fourth quarter they were finally playing like they wanted to win,” said Eisele. “Their kid fouling out gave us a little bit of a spark and gave us an advantage inside, and we fed off of that.”
With each big play in the run, the crowd got louder and the team fed off of them.
“Once we started to focus and play our game, everything opened up,” said Eisele. “When we play with energy like that, we’re really hard to beat. We just didn’t have it for the first three quarters.”
The offense was sluggish at the start, but kept pace thanks to a trio of first quarter 3-pointers from Will Washington.
“Will’s playing hurt, but he was a warrior tonight,” praised Eisele. “He carried us in the first quarter.”
Mundy’s Mill got the early momentum, jumping out to an early 11-5 lead. The Chiefs scratched back, Braxton Shaw’s floater putting them in front and Washington long range shooting keying a 13-0 run and a 20-14 lead after one quarter.
The Tigers would not fade in the second quarter, but McIntosh kept pressing. Isaac Kellum’s flying tip-in and a Jordan Lyons cross-court pass to Shaw for three helped keep them in front 35-30 at halftime.
Mundy’s Mill grinded their way to a 41-39 lead midway through the third as they continued hitting shots from outside. Shaw added one of his own to keep pace, and Washington dished to Chase Walter for a thunderous dunk to make it 45-45 heading into the fourth quarter.
After the Tigers scored the first bucket of the fourth, it was all Chiefs. On the ensuing possession, the hard foul and technical sent Lyons to the free throw line for four shots. He drained three of them to put his team in front for good and followed it up with a steal and coast-to-coast layup. Washington got back to work, driving to the hoop at will, three times taking it to the rim for a layup, one ending in a three-point play. He drove and dished once to Walter twice and once to Lowery for rim-rattling dunks as the lead swelled. Lowery’s tip-in capped off the run with a 63-47 lead, allowing both teams to bring in the bench en route to the 69-55 finale.
Will Washington led the Chiefs in scoring with 24 points, followed by Chase Walter and Jordan Lyons with 11 apiece

Christopher Dunn

Managing Editor Christopher Dunn has been with the Fayette County News since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Victory magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.