Strong fourth leads to Spartan boys to win

DECATUR -- Only up by four heading into the fourth quarter, No. 2 Greater Atlanta Christian put up 22 points in the fourth quarter, en route to a 59-48 win over No. 6 Buford for the Region 6-AA boys' basketball title.

The Spartans (23-5) got 16 points and eight assists from Collin Swinton as he got his teammates involved throughout the game, helping his team to their third win over the Wolves this year.

"That's what your point guard is supposed to do," said GAC head coach Eddie Martin. "He's been in our program a few years and this is his first starting. He's doing his job."

GAC had trouble getting going early as two starters found themselves on the bench with two fouls midway through the first quarter, helping the Wolves take a 13-12 lead after the first frame.

However, once the second quarter got going, things changed as GAC got into a rhythm, as Swinton in the midst of double-teams, found Robert Armstrong three separate times under the basket. Those assists helped the Spartans take a 25-21 lead into halftime.

The third quarter saw GAC increase their lead by 11 points, but Buford wouldn't go away as the ball found the bottom of the net for T.J. Shipes and Kyle Kellam to close the deficit to 37-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

But, that's all the Wolves would be able to muster as Cole Hobbs and Delano Spencer continued to find their way to the free-throw line, helping the Spartans outscore the Wolves 22-15 in fourth quarter.

Spencer finished the game with 12 points and four steals, while Hobbs had 17 points and five rebounds.

For Buford (21-7), Shipes finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Kyle Kellam had 10 points.

Now, both teams turn their focus to the state tournament.

"We have to take it one game at a time," Martin said. "We're going to treat it like five one-game seasons."

Martin said playing in Region 6-AA has helped prepare his team for the state tournament, especially considering the four teams representing the region in the state tournament are all in the top 10.

"Everyone says that their region is the best," he said, "but I truly think ours is one of the best (in AA)."