Staff Photo: John Bohn South Gwinnett's Terrance Jones (31) and Berkmar's Yonel Brown (4) reach for a rebound during the third quarter of Saturday's game.
SNELLVILLE -- Sometimes all a coach can ask for is a chance to win the game in the final seconds.
For South Gwinnett (7-10, 5-5), that opportunity came twice Saturday at home against No. 10 Berkmar. However, things didn't turn out as the Comets would have hoped as the Patriots held on for the 46-45 win.
With less than seven seconds to go, Kyle Wright had a jumper that rimmed out, with the ball going out of bounds to Berkmar. A foul put Berkmar (12-6, 10-1) at the line for a one-in-one, but it was missed, giving the Comets one last shot. Wright dribbled up court and put his shot up just past the half-court line, only to see the ball hit the back iron to give the Patriots the win.
"Sometimes it's good to just get the win," said Berkmar head coach Greg Phillips. "We have to work on our free throws at the end of the game so teams don't get those chances."
Throughout the first quarter, both teams struggled to get into a rhythm on the offensive side, as the teams went into the second quarter tied at 7-7. For South, part of its defensive success came from collapsing on 6-foot, 9-inch center Tim Rowe every time he got the ball.
"They didn't give us any easy entries on Tim," Phillips said. "They had a great plan for him."
The second quarter saw both teams get a few more open looks, but both defenses still held firm as South went into halftime with a 18-16 lead.
Berkmar got out to a fast start in the second half, scoring the first five points only to see South come back to take the lead. In fact, the teams would trade leads five times through the early part of the third quarter.
From there, Berkmar went on a 6-0 run to take a 29-24 lead, a lead they would never relinquish, although the Comets came close on many occasions.
With less than a minute to go in the game, Berkmar's Yonel Brown stepped to the line after being fouled, and knocked down both free throws to put the Patriots up by three again.
Wright then knocked down a runner to put the score at 46-45, setting up the game for multiple game-winning opportunities in the end.
"Last night took a lot out of us, so I'm glad we were able to come in here and get the win," Phillips said.
Berkmar was led by Adonai Rogers with 17 points, while Brown had 13.
For South, Simeon Dennis had a game-high 18 points, while Wright had 12.