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South gets defensive in 53-48 win at Dacula

Photo: Karl L. Moore Dacula's Anthony Morris (5) goes in for the layup against the hard defense of South Gwinnett's Logan Adams (44) during Friday night's game at Dacula

Photo: Karl L. Moore Dacula's Anthony Morris (5) goes in for the layup against the hard defense of South Gwinnett's Logan Adams (44) during Friday night's game at Dacula

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Photo: Karl L. Moore Dacula's Xavier Okoro (33) slides in through South Gwinnett's Terrance Jones (31) and K. V. Walker (22) for the layup during Friday night's game at Dacula.

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Photo: Karl L. Moore Dacula's Anthony Morris (5) grabs the rebound away from South Gwinnett's Logan Adams (44) during Friday night's game at Dacula

DACULA -- For the better part of three quarters, South Gwinnett's boys found it next to impossible to stop Dacula's 1-2 punch of Xavier Okoro and Brandon Goodson.

But after watching the dynamic duo score 30 of the Falcons' 36 points by the end of the period, the Comets were able to keep both relatively in check in the fourth.

And South had a terrific trio of its own go to work as Ray Mobley, Simeon Dennis and Logan Adams combined for 20 of the team's 21 points in the final frame, pushing the Comets to a come-from-behind 53-48 win Friday night.

"We just pressured the ball a little more and played a little harder (in the fourth quarter)," South coach Scott Bracco said after his team evened its record at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in Region 8-AAAAA play. "We picked up our pressure and did a better job rebounding."

Through three quarters, though, the Comets found the going tough, not only keeping up with Okoro, who scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, but also hanging with Dacula (8-6, 3-3) on the boards, where the Falcons held a 34-24 advantage on the evening.

While South managed to stay within striking distance most of that time, it looked like Dacula was beginning to pull away late in the third as the Falcons began to find other sources of scoring.

Clyde Niba's transition layup gave the Falcons their biggest lead off the game at 36-28 with 2:25 left in the period before South began to chip away, with a pair of Terrance Jones free throws and Dennis' transition layup pulling the Comets to within 36-32 heading into the fourth quarter.

Still, it looked like Dacula was in good shape after Okoro scored 13 seconds into the final frame to push the Dacula lead back to six points at 38-32.

But South made sure these were the last points the 6-foot-3 forward would score by getting physical with him, and the senior showed some frustration by being whistled for a technical foul with seven minutes remaining.

Mobley hit the two free throws, which were sandwiched between two 3-pointers, giving him eight of his 10 points on the evening in a 55-second span, during which the Comets vaulted into the lead at 40-38 with 6:40 remaining.

Goodson helped Dacula keep pace, with two of his four 3-pointers on the evening -- good for six of his 16 points -- during a 2:04 span that left the Falcons back in front at 46-44 following the second of those treys with 3:46 left.

But Adams, who would require two stitches from a cut sustained in an inadvertent collision with Okoro in the third quarter, quickly answered nine seconds later by driving the lane and getting fouled before hitting both free throws to retie the game at 46-all.

Then, with the game tied at 48-all, another drive by Adams resulted in a layup that put South back in front at 50-48 with 1:37 left.

And the Comets made sure they would stay in front with a couple of tough defensive stands.

The first ended when Kyle Wright poked the ball away from an inbound pass to Okoro and before being fouled and hitting one of two free throws with 40.7 seconds left to make the lead three points at 51-48.

Then, after Anthony Morse had kept Dacula alive with offensive rebounds off two missed 3-pointers, Dennis came up with another big steal, and sealed the win with two more free throws with 1.4 seconds left.

"It's just another tough region game," said Dacula coach B.J. Roy, whose team also got a game-high 10 rebounds from Okoro and five boards each from Morse, Goodson and Niba. "Every night, you've got to come ready to play. (South) pulled it out (Friday) night.

"We go in (to the locker room) and the next thing we say is, 'We've got to get ready for Central (Gwinnett tonight). We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves. You've got to grow up ... and be ready to take on a tough Central team (tonight)."

South, which also faces a tough region opponent tonight by hosting No. 1 state-ranked Shiloh, was led by Dennis' 16 points, while Adams added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Wright chipped in seven points and four steals.South girls 46,

Dacula 36Sam McCombs scored a game-high 16 points, while Tiffany Jenkins added nine points 10 rebounds and six blocked shots as the Comets (8-5, 4-2) posted the Region 8-AAAAA win on the road Friday.

The Falcons (4-10, 2-4) were led by nine points each from Joni Witherspoon and Kendelle Culpepper, with Witherspoon pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds.