LAWRENCEVILLE -- Kim Rivers didn't mince words about Tuesday's outcome.
"This was a big win for us," the Shiloh head coach said of his team's 66-54 victory over Region 8-AAAAA foe Archer. "They were right behind us in the region and you really want to have a good seed going into the tournament."
The win kept Shiloh (14-2, 9-1 region) atop the 8-AAAAA standings. Archer (12-6, 7-3) stays at No. 3 behind the Generals and Berkmar.
"It's all about getting into the dance," Rivers said of making the state tournament.
And at the game's start, it looked like Tuesday would be another easy win for the once top-ranked Generals.
Shiloh took an 18-12 first quarter lead, led by nine points from Robert Carter, the 6-foot-9, 240-pound big man headed to Georgia Tech next season. Carter ended the night with a game-high 19 points. He blocked four shots, redirected plenty of others and grabbed four rebounds.
"It was a great game for Robert," Rivers said of his center, who didn't leave the floor until the final minute. "He is such a dominant force not only on the offensive end, but on the defensive end."
Shiloh was playing without its other post, Trayvon Reed, who sat out the game with tendinitis.
In the second quarter, Shiloh extended its lead to as many as 16 as the offense grew around Carter.
Jordan Gaither hit a 3 and senior bench player Amar Basic sparked the team with seven of his ten points.
Basic entered after a couple of Shiloh players picked up their second fouls and immediately made an impact. He hit a layup in transition off a nice feed from C.J. Keyes.
"He does a lot of the little things, the intangibles that every team needs," Rivers said.
The 10-point halftime lead swelled back to 15 in the third quarter before Archer finally made its run. Bryan Hamlet scored nine of the team's 12 points in the quarter and the Tigers forced four turnovers and plenty of hurried shots from Shiloh. And when Randall Smith hit a 3 with just over a minute in the quarter the deficit was down to seven. Hamlet led Archer with 13 points and Tramique Anderson added 11. Smith and Navis Floyd both scored eight for the team-centered Archer offense.
The Tigers came as close as five after Jermaine Morris scored to open the fourth, but Shiloh regained its footing from there, ripping off a 12-4 run. The run included six points from Carter, a pair of 3s from Kyle Lewis. Archer never got closer than 10 again and it was Basic dropping the dagger with his second 3 of the night. He also added two assists in the quarter.
"When he's hot, he's hot," Rivers said.
Archer girls 55, Shiloh 39
With a 31-16 halftime lead and after holding Shiloh to five second-quarter points it looked like Archer would cruise past the Generals.
But Shiloh's defense started forcing turnovers, Archer lost focus and Shiloh's Racquel Cranston scored six of her game-high 17 points in the third quarter and suddenly the big lead, as large as 21 in the quarter, was in trouble.
Not for long.
Archer dominated the fourth with its defense on its way to a 55-39 win over Shiloh. The fourth, like the second, saw Shiloh score just five points. On the season, the Tigers' defense averages almost 30 turnovers a game.
"We came out of the locker room and wanted to increase our lead and we did," said Archer head coach Ryan Lesniak. "We are just still young and trying to get a young team to continue playing hard with a lead is difficult. We are still teaching them how to win ball games."
Danicka Brown and Alesha Mann each turned in 16 points for the Tigers and Madison Newby added eight in the win for Archer (13-5, 7-3 Region 8-AAAAA). It was the second straight game Brown led the Tigers in scoring and the seventh in the last nine that Mann turned in double figures.
"She's found her shot recently," Lesniak said. "She's really doing a lot of great things for us."