The Upson-Lee Middle School Knights have been dominant in nearly every game this season, and head coach Tim Cook was looking for his squad to dominate in just one more game. The Knights took on the Manchester Middle School Blue Devils on Tuesday night for the CGMSAL (Central Georgia Middle School Athletic League) Championship.
Although the Knights’ performance was not dominating, it was still good enough to earn a 46-43 victory over the Blue Devils and win the Championship.
The Knights came out on fire in the game, and looked as if they may blow the doors off the gym and send the Blue Devils packing before the fans got seated and settled in comfortably. Early in the first quarter, Tavis Fagan, Cameron Traylor, and Zyrice Scott each drilled three-pointers, and after just four minutes of game action, the Knights led by 12-2 score.
Manchester was able to knock down a three-pointer of their own, and pull the reigns in on the Knights offensive onslaught. Upson-Lee had plenty of chances to open the lead up even more, but struggled from the free throw line, something that kept Manchester alive for much of the game. The Knights attempted 34 free throws, but only connected on 17 of them, a 50 percent clip.
At the end of one quarter of play, the Knights held a 14-7 lead. However, in the second quarter, the Knights struggled offensively, and had some trouble with turnovers. Manchester added a full court press, which got them back into the ball game, and after outscoring Upson-Lee 13-4 in the second quarter, the Blue Devils had taken a 20-18 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter of the game, the two teams played fairly evenly. However, once again the Knights had chances to take and expand on a lead from the free throw line, but failed to do so.
The two teams headed into the final and fourth quarter with Manchester holding a slim 30-29 lead. In the fourth quarter the Knights started to make a concerted effort to take the ball to the basket, rather than settling for jump shots. This enabled the Knights to reach the free throw line 18 times, but in the fourth quarter the Knights shot much better from the charity stripe, making 13 of their 18 attempts.
With 2:29 left in the game, the Knights took a lead they would not relinquish, as Tavis Fagan drove to the basket, scoring while getting fouled. The Knights also took advantage of a technical foul by Manchester, sealing the 46-43 victory.
Fagan led all players in the game with 20 points, while Jacorey Smith added nine points. Zyrice Scott tallied six points, and Cameron Traylor netted five points. Ziquan Brown finished with four points, while Travon Walker chipped in with two points in the victory.
Wes McCard can be contacted at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @WesMc21.