SNELLVILLE — After missing the front end of a 1-and-1 free-throw opportunity late in Saturday night’s championship game of the 2012 Deep South Classic, all Brookwood guard Nate Gill was asking for was another chance.
He got it seconds later, and made it count by hitting both ends with 9.7 seconds remaining — two of four free throws the Broncos hit in the final 10 seconds to hold off a gutty challenge from Sequoyah for a 66-61 win at Brookwood’s Maroon Gymnasium.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Deion Dedeaux finished with 13 points, two assists and three steals, while All-Tournament Team selection Kendall Joseph added a game-high 16 points and seven rebounds as the Broncos (12-2) claimed the title for just the fifth time in the 22-year event.
“As a player, we got beat bad by Woodward Academy in the (1996) finals,” Brookwood grad and current head coach Daniel Bowles said. “When I was an assistant coach at Chattahoochee, we came over here and lost to Centennial in the (2005) finals. So, I told our kids before the game, “I’ve never won it. So, this is your chance to do it.’ And they did a great job because Sequoyah is a very good team.”
Indeed, the visiting Chiefs (11-3) gave Brookwood all it wanted the whole evening despite using just three players off the bench, compared to seven for the Broncos, who tried to dictate its usual racehorse pace to the game.
Sequoyah actually led 22-17 lead after one quarter, and even though the Chiefs only held one more brief lead after Brookwood jumped in front late in the first half, the Broncos could never get rid of them, even after taking as much as a 43-33 lead after Joseph’s 3-pointer with 5:33 left in the third quarter.
“When we got up 10, I kind of thought for minute that (the lead) was going to move a little bit,” Bowles said. “But (Sequoyah) kept going. (Brandon Ingleton) is very, very good. (Solomon Ajose) is very, very good. Those kids can play.”
With Ingleton and Ajose leading the way, Sequoyah began to chip away at the lead, pulling to within 51-45 by the end of the third quarter.
And after Ajose hit 1 of 2 free throws, with Ingleton grabbing the offensive rebound of his teammate’s miss and scoring on the stickback, the Chiefs had that first lead in nearly a half at 54-53 with 4:35 remaining.
But the Broncos took the lead right back at 55-54 when Khalil Abdullah pulled down one of his team-high 11 rebounds and scored on the stickback on Brookwood’s next trip down the court.
And when R.J. Smith connected on a 3-pointer from the left corner with 3:45 left, the Broncos had a 58-54 lead.
Still, Sequoyah wouldn’t go away, and with Brookwood clinging to a 62-61 lead, the Chiefs had a chance to retake the lead after Gill’s miss with 25.1 seconds remaining.
“When I missed the (first) free throw, I knew I had to get back on defense,” Gill said. “So, all I was focusing on was getting the ball back, and whatever happened, happened.”
And he got that chance after a pass from Dalton Satterfield to Ingleton on the left wing sailed out of bounds, and Gill was fouled when he took the inbound with 9.7 seconds left.
This time, he made no mistake, cleaning sending both ends of the 1-and-1 through the net for his only two points of the game to push the Brookwood lead to 64-61.
“I just had to focus on my next free throws,” Gill said. “I missed the first one, but I just had to concentrate on the next one.”
Sequoyah had one last shot when Satterfield, who tied with Ingleton for team-high scoring honors with 17 points, got an open look for a potential game-tying 3-pointer from the left corner.
But the shot hit off the front iron, and Joseph, grabbed the rebound and hit both ensuing free throws with one second left on the clock to seal the win, and the title, for Brookwood.
In addition to the big nights from Joseph and Dedeaux, the Broncos also got 11 points off the bench from Smith, nine of which came on three 3-pointers.
Ajose had 15 points for Sequoyah, while the Chiefs also got 11 and seven rebounds respectively from Ingleton and Satterfield.
GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Creekview 54, North Oconee 43, OT
Dee Blankenship’s layup in the opening minute of the extra frame gave Creekview (11-4) the lead for good in a game in which neither team led by more than six points en route to the tournament title.
Blankenship finished the game with 11 points, while twin sister Danyelle Blankenship led the Grizzlies with 14 points. Megan Nay also reached double figures with 12 points.
For North Oconee (10-2), Brooke Hubbard led all scorers with 21 points.
BOYS THIRD PLACE
Duluth 62, Creekview 50
Duluth (9-5) trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half before rallying to within 25-22 by halftime.
The Wildcats then used a 20-4 run that stretched between the second and third quarters to take the lead for good.
“It’s hard to play in a third-place game after the emotional letdown of coming as close as we did (in a 58-55 semifinal loss to Sequoyah a day earlier),” Duluth coach Eddie Hood said. “But we got our pressure defensive game going into the second half, and we came out and executed.”
Overall, Duluth outscored Creekview (8-7) by a 24-9 count in the third period, with Shamus Goss striking for seven of his team-high 18 points in the period, while Ify Imachukwu went for 10 of his 16 points during the frame.
Brandon Pressley scored 22 points, including 10 in the first half, to lead Creekview and all scorers, while the Grizzlies also got 13 points from Jesse Neal.
GIRLS THIRD PLACE
Model 65, Brookwood 59, OT
Brookwood (8-6) led throughout, but Model outscored the Broncos 21-9 in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
And the Blue Devils (7-3) prevailed behind 17 points from Timia Reynolds and 15 from Karlee Akins.
Rebecca Walker led Brookwood and all scorers with 23 points before fouling out with about three minutes left in regulation, while Courtney Gardner added 16 before fouling out late in the extra period.