With the regular season winding down, region play is ramping up. Saturday evening saw Sandy Creek and Fayette County split their doubleheader on the Patriots’ home court.
Sandy Creek used a fast start and a strong finish to secure a 76-64 win in the boys game. A 12-2 run to open the game helped ensure that the Patriots never trailed.
“We lost last night to Carrollton, and that was a game we felt we should’ve won, so we looked at tonight as a redemption night. We knew we had to come take care of business,” said Sandy Creek coach Anthony McKissic. “It’s pretty big. Fayette County is a big rivalry, it’s a big region game, and it’s Senior Night. That’s three reasons we had to win tonight.”
Fayette made their runs, but never could even up the game, thanks in part to the play of the always-excellent Christian Turner, who made his Senior Night a success.
“It’s truly a blessing to have a guy like Christian because he’s a coach on the floor,” praised McKissic. “He’s one of those kids that I don’t know how me makes some of his shots when he just throws it up and it goes in. He’s just a real skilled athlete.”
Javon Jackson opened the scoring, and Jaylon Cheffin answered with a jumper for Fayette to tie the game at 2-2. It would be the last tie of the night. Keith Heard’s hook shot and 3-pointers from Christian Turner and AJ Freeman made it a 12-2 margin out of the gate.
Heard added a big dunk, but drew a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Fayette grabbed a bit of momentum after the foul, helped by Eric Williams sinking a 3-pointer and a free throw for a four-point play to get back within 14-10.
Jackson and Turner hit from deep and Williams hit another for the Tigers as the Patriots led 24-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Elias Harden sparked the Patriots to start the second, dishing to Evan Jester for two and converting a three-point play. Noah Gurley pulled the Tigers back within single digits midway through the quarter, but a Freeman assist to Heard for a thunderous dunk pushed the Patriots ahead 41-30 at halftime.
The Tigers stepped up in the third quarter, Zachary Turner sinking two 3-pointers and Eric Williams hitting one of his own. A bit of teamwork pulled them closer when Gurley blocked a shot and Phillip Young dished to Turner, who turned it into a three-point play to get within four points. The Patriots responded with a Freeman steal and coast-to-coast layup and a Jester bucket to finish the third quarter at a 57-51 lead.
Sandy Creek pulled away early in the fourth. Heard’s hook and Jackson’s steal off an inbounds pass and layup pushed the lead back to nine points, and it would not get closer. With the game in hand, both teams got the full roster some game action as the Patriots sealed up the 76-64 win.
“We’ve got three goals: win state, win region, and get a scholarship. This game directly lined up with our goals, so we had to do what we do,” said McKissic.
Christian Turner led all scorers with 20 points, adding 10 assists and 4 steals.
Javon Jackson followed with 16 points, Elias Harden added 15 points and 6 rebounds, and Keith Heard posted 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Eric Williams led the Tigers with 18 points, Noah Gurley notched 11 points, and Phillip Young added 10 points and 9 rebounds.
The Fayette girls spoiled the day for a young Lady Patriot squad that did not have any players to celebrate on Senior Night, simply dominating at the outset in a 46-16 victory.
Fayette sprinted out to an 18-0 start, building a lead Sandy Creek could not overcome.
“I would say it’s probably the first game all year that we jumped out. We’ve been playing from behind pretty much all year,” said Lady Tigers coach John Strickland, whose squad trailed Woodward Academy 15-2 at the start of the previous game before coming back and losing in overtime. “It’s character building to have a tough loss and come back today. The girls were playing really well.”
Darryl Langford started hot, scoring the game’s first nine points on a trio of 3-pointers. Her sharpshooting would open up opportunities for her teammates as the game wore on.
“We were hitting from outside, then we starting going to the inside. Everything was going pretty good tonight,” said Strickland.
Trinity Brown, filling in as the starting point guard with Maegan Barkley hurt, stepped up next with a pair of buckets.
“Tonight, she had to be the point guard and take the lead. She did a really good job,” praised Strickland.
Langford dished to Jazlyn Hanson and Rikkelle Miller hit a 3-pointer as Fayette held an 18-0 lead after the first quarter.
The scoring drought for Sandy Creek ended just past the midway point of the second quarter as Morghan Currie muscled for a putback and added a free throw to complete the three-point play. Fayette finished strong to build up a 28-3 advantage at halftime.
The Tigers kept up the pressure with 3-pointers from Brown and Miller in the third quarter. Sandy Creek picked up the pace, Currie scoring off a Kasey Toles dish and Ky’anah Snypes adding a bucket to make it 43-14 heading into the fourth.
A low-scoring fourth quarter saw the only points from the floor come from Sandy Creek’s Amara Owoh and Fayette’s Ozemeyi Egure as the Tigers sealed up the 46-16 win.
Darryl Langford led all scorers with 16 points, followed by Trinity Brown and Jazlyn Hanson with 10 apiece. Jessica Watkins pulled down 17 rebounds.
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