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Bulldogs, Calhoun stun No. 9 Wheeler in OT

MARIETTA -- For freshman Kam Calhoun, it took exactly four minutes to completely change his fortune and send North Gwinnett to a stunning 70-68 overtime victory over No. 9 Wheeler in the Class AAAAA boys state tournament second round.

Sitting on a 61-59 lead late in the fourth quarter, Calhoun fouled Wheeler's Jacob Obande with 4.7 seconds remaining.

Obande went to the line and sank both free throws to tie the game at 61-61 at the end of regulation.

But that only set the stage for Calhoun to redeem himself in overtime.

After Obande had once again gone to the free throw line for Wheeler and tied the contest at 68-68 with 38 seconds remaining in the extra session, North took possession for one last time.

Milking the clock for the potential game-winner, A.J. Clements drove and dished to Calhoun for a runner down the right side of the lane for his only field goal of the game with 4.2 seconds to go.

Wheeler's inbound pass and subsequent desperation heave at the buzzer missed and North was on its way to Carrollton to play the winner of Shiloh-Milton on Saturday in the third round.

"The objective was to hold the ball to the end and take the last shot," said North head coach Zach Smith. "We did a good job of executing our stall. We called a set we wanted to get and the guys executed. A.J. (Clements) took the ball, drew the defenders and dumped the ball off. Kam made the shot. It was a big-time bucket by a freshman."

North stayed toe-to-toe with Wheeler as the Bulldogs led after the first quarter 16-15 and trailed by two at halftime 35-33.

North came out in the third quarter and built a 46-42 lead late in the period before Wheeler pulled to within a point at 46-45 heading to the final quarter.

From there, the two teams traded runs as North pushed out to a 51-46 lead only to watch Wheeler come back to take a 58-56 advantage with 46 ticks left on the clock.

But a T.J. Howard three-pointer with 17 seconds left got North the lead at 59-58.

Then a block on the defensive end from Kwesi Abakah regained possession for North and Clements hit two free throws to give the Bulldogs a 61-58 lead with 7.7 seconds left.

From there, Wheeler got a free throw from Mitchell with 6.9 left and then Obande tied the game at 61-61 to set up the deciding overtime.

Chris Bolden led North with 30 points, including five in overtime before fouling out with 51 seconds remaining, while Clements had 17 and Howard added 11.

Abakah finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots while Calhoun finished with four points on his game-winning field goal and a pair of free throws in the third quarter.

Obande led Wheeler (17-11) with 13 points and Mitchell had 12 points and seven rebounds as the Wildcats put nine in the scoring column.

Comments

Gary 2 years, 7 months ago

"Out of the hands of babes comes a winning shot! Congratulations to Coach Smith, his assistant coaches and staff and especially the Members of the North Gwinnett High School Varsity Basketball Team for their overtime win Wednesday night against Wheeler on the floor of Wheeler High School! This team victory in the third round of the State Playoffs was well coached and well played by the Bulldogs against a very tough team. Good luck and continue to play with "Cool Confidence" this weekend in Carrollton! Go Bulldogs!

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Gary 2 years, 7 months ago

Correction: "Out of the hands of babes comes a winning shot! Congratulations to Coach Smith, his assistant coaches and staff and especially the Members of the North Gwinnett High School Varsity Basketball Team for their overtime win Wednesday night against Wheeler on the floor of Wheeler High School! This team victory in the second round of the State Playoffs was well coached and well played by the Bulldogs against a very tough team. Good luck and continue to play with "Cool Confidence" this weekend in Carrollton! Go Bulldogs!

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