Staff Photo: John Bohn Berkmar's Yonel Brown (4) is fouled by Central Gwinnett's Justin Dewitt (12) during the fourth quarter of a boy's Class 8-AAAAA semifinal basketball game played Friday at Shiloh High School. Berkmar defeated Central Gwinnett 67-51.
SNELLVILLE -- It wasn't easy for the region's top seed and No. 3 ranked team in the state, but Shiloh had the will and found a way as the Generals battled for a 49-44 win over No. 4 seed Dacula in the semifinals of the Region 8-AAAAA boys basketball tournament.
Shiloh (24-3) will meet No. 2 seed Berkmar, ranked No. 7 in the state, Saturday at 7:30 for the region crown after the Patriots rolled past Central Gwinnett 67-51 in the first semifinal.
Dacula and Central will meet in the third-place game this afternoon at 4:30.
Dacula (15-12) led 15-11 after the first quarter, but Shiloh stormed back to outscore the Falcons 14-3 in the second quarter to give the Generals a 25-18 halftime lead.
Dacula didn't go away after Shiloh went up 30-18 in the third quarter.
The Falcons rallied and eventually tied the game at 36-36 heading to the fourth quarter.
In that final period, Dacula went up 42-39 with 2:42 left on an Anthony Morse basket.
But six missed free throws and a pair of turnovers down the stretch spelled trouble for Dacula.
That's when Robert Carter went to work.
Carter tied the game at 42-42 with a 3-pointer with 2:42 left and then completed an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:58 left as Shiloh regained the lead for good at 45-44.
Trayvon Reed's putback and Christopher Keyes' free throw secured the game in the win column for Shiloh.
"We played with poise and passion down the stretch tonight," said Shiloh head coach Kim Rivers. "We showed tonight what it's like to defend the Generals' shield. And (Robert Carter) showed why he is a McDonald's All-America with his performance tonight."
Carter had a game-high 22 points along with 11 rebounds while Reed had 11 points and nine rebounds for Shiloh.
Xavier Okoro led Dacula with 18 points and six rebounds to go along with 14 points and five rebounds from Morse.
Berkmar 67, Central 51
In the first semifinal of the night, a pair of 12-0 runs propelled Berkmar to its convincing 16-point win over Central.
Maximizing both the inside and outside game offensively, Berkmar (20-7) was balanced throughout the game and never went into a scoring drought that hit Central on a few occasions.
Trailing 20-18 early in the second quarter, Berkmar went on its first 12-0 spurt and pulled out to a 30-20 lead with 2:25 remaining in the first half.
Then the Patriots put the game away late in the third quarter and early into the fourth on their second 12-0 streak to build a 22-point advantage at 54-30.
Berkmar outscored Central 17-6 in the third quarter alone as the Patriots limited the Black Knights to a pair of field goals and two free throws from Justin Martin.
From there, Central (13-14) could never pull closer than 15 points in the final quarter as Berkmar sealed the victory and a berth in the title game.
Center Tim Rowe took care of the inside game for Berkmar as the sophomore connected for a game-high 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Rowe finished with five field goals and was 5 of 8 from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, guards Yonel Brown, A.D. Rogers and Brandon Thompson took care of things on the perimeter.
Brown poured in 14 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and was a perfect 5 of 5 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
Brown also collected six rebounds and dished out five assists for the Patriots.
Rogers added 10, including two 3-pointers, while Thompson finished with nine points and distributed seven assists.
Tyler Rogers had eight for Berkmar, including seven in the third quarter.
"We had balance and knew we needed it," said Berkmar head coach Greg Phillips. "When we would make the correct play and find the open guy, we made a couple of big threes. And I asked Tim (Rowe) for effort plays, like offensive rebounds. In the second half, we did that and when he does, he is tough to guard inside."
Sophomore Shaun Jones led the way for Central with 14 points, including nine in the fourth quarter.
Junior Eman Westmoreland chipped in eight points for the Black Knights.