LILBURN - With just under two minutes left Friday night, Javonte Maynor missed two straight free throws. He didn't miss much else.
The South Gwinnett junior scored 19 points off the bench and hit four of his team's six 3-pointers, sparking the Comets to a 74-46 victory over Central Gwinnett in the Region 8-AAAAA boys basketball tournament semifinals.
"It felt good to help the team out," said Maynor, who made 6 of 9 field goals. "My job's to knock down open 3s and play good defense."
Early-season injuries made Maynor a starter briefly, but lately he's been the sixth man for the Comets (23-5), who play Brookwood tonight at 7:30 in the finals.
"We have two senior wings in front of (Maynor), otherwise he'd be starting," South boys coach Emmett Rouse said. "He's an outstanding shooter. Right now, he's more of a spark plug off the bench for us. That's working right now so I'm not going to change it."
When Maynor wasn't scoring, Central (14-13) had problems with South's active work on the glass. The Comets had a 46-23 rebounding edge, creating plenty of second-chance points.
South's Adonis Harrison had 16 points and nine rebounds, Kevon Jenkins had 14 points and seven boards and Mario Vasser added nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Point guard Xavier Chargois had 12 points, nine assists and six rebounds.
South led 16-6 after a quarter - helped by Central's 2-for-15 shooting start - but the Black Knights battled back to within 21-17 with 3 minutes left in the opening half. But a dunk by Jenkins and five straight points from Maynor, the last a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left, opened up the lead at the break.
The run grew to 18-3 in the third quarter, turning South's lead into 39-20 and essentially finishing off Central. Jenkins hit a pair of 3-pointers to open the third and Maynor also hit one from long range during the sport.
"We went into the locker room and talked about how the first three minutes (of the second half) were important," Maynor said. "We wanted to finish off the game strong."