Shiloh finishes regular season with 58-55 win

LAWRENCEVILLE - Shiloh closed out its regular season Friday night with a 58-55 win over Central Gwinnett.

The outcome of the contest put both Shiloh and Central at 9-5 in region play along with Parkview, leaving the seedings for next week's region tournament currently up in the air.

With Meadowcreek already entrenched as the top seed, Shiloh, Central and Parkview will have to wait the outcome of a coin toss to be held this morning at 10 a.m. at Berkmar.

Depending on how the coin lands, either school could be as high as a No. 2 or as low as a No. 4

"After not doing so well near the end, we've won four in a row now," Shiloh head coach Don Einolf said. "I'd rather go into the tournament winning four in a row instead of losing four in a row."

Friday's game came down to a last minute of frantic play as Central (14-9 overall) nearly erased a five-point deficit in the final 60 seconds.

Shiloh held a 56-51 lead with 53 seconds left and had a chance to seal things from the free throw line but couldn't connect as the Generals missed four free shots in the next 45 seconds.

Central took advantage as Sam Goodman, who led the Black Knights with 21 points, scored with 21 seconds left to cut the lead to 56-53.

Shiloh's Jamal Smith then missed two free throws with 19 seconds to play and Goodman launched a 3-pointer to tie the game.

Goodman's shot rolled out but Marius Chawa, who scored 10 for Central, was there for the stick back to bring Central within one at 56-55.

Shiloh in-bounded the ball and Andre Mikell was fouled. Mikell went to the line and broke Shiloh's streak of misses from the line by hitting both shots to put Shiloh up at 58-55 with 8.7 seconds left.

Central brought the ball up court but never got off a shot, giving Shiloh the win that created a logjam in the region standings.

"I told my guys the last time we were sitting on the bench to take a deep breath, relax and do what we've done all year," Einolf said. "Central brought their emotions with them for Senior Night and they came prepared."

Shiloh's guards stepped up and played well as Smith led the team with 20 points while Mikell scored 16 and Will Williams added 16 more.

Midway through the second quarter, Shiloh broke open a close game by going on a 15-0 run. Smith scored seven points during that streak while Mikell hit a pair of 3's to help give Shiloh a 34-23 lead at the half.

Central began to chip away in the third quarter on the strength of Richard Howell. Howell, who finished with 12 points, scored nine of those in the third.

However, Howell was whistled for his fourth foul with 3:07 left in the quarter and did not return until 5:24 left in the game.

Foul trouble also hurt Central in the second quarter when Chawa picked up his third foul with 6:22 left before half. At that point, Central led 21-16 but Chawa's departure is the point when Shiloh began its 15-0 run.

Entering the fourth quarter, Central had pulled to within four at 47-43. Goodman cut the score to 50-47 with a resounding dunk on a fast break but Shiloh went on a little 6-0 spurt to rebuild a 56-49 cushion with 1:17 to play.

"Going into tonight, we had been playing really well," Central head coach David Allen said. "Tonight we came out and didn't have the energy on defense and lost some mental edge. We got out of synch and then the foul trouble hit us."

Central's girls had better luck against the Generals by posting a 53-37 win.

Shawna Land scored 15 to lead Central (17-6, 10-4) while Katie Bender scored 12 and Jasmine Stovall added 10 points.

Shiloh (14-11, 5-9) was led by 11 points from Amanda Parker and eight by Caneisha Bell.

Central is tied in Region 8-AAAAA at 10-4 along with Berkmar and Brookwood. South will be the top seed in next week's region tournament while a coin toss will decide seeds two, three and four.