Foster leads Berkmar to overtime victory

LILBURN -- C.J. Foster was Berkmar's defensive stopper last season, any offensive contributions almost an afterthought.

A lot has changed, though, as the Patriots go for a third straight region championship and another trip to the state tournament.

The 6-foot-2 senior guard is now also a key part of Berkmar's offense and he showed what he can do in the season opener Saturday.

Foster, who averaged just under five points per game a year ago, scored 32 and host Berkmar defeated Morgan County 57-51 in overtime at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

"He's a player," coach Greg Phillips said. "Last season, we didn't need him to score. Now we do."

Foster tied the game at 47 on a drive with 25 seconds left in regulation and then hit two free throws with 44 seconds left in overtime to clinch the victory.

Berkmar, which was 23-8 last season and reached the state quarterfinals, needed all the offense it could get from Foster. Tim Rowe, the team's only other returning starter, got in early foul trouble and the 6-foot-10 junior was limited to eight points and six rebounds. Brookwood transfer Malcolm Hannah scored just five points.

Morgan County, which was 25-5 last season and is expected to be one of the top teams in Class AAA, scored the last nine points of the second quarter to lead 28-26 at halftime and was up 39-34 early in the fourth quarter.

Foster was at his best with the game on the line, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Patriots rallied.

Tookie Brown led Morgan County with 20 points and 6-foot-8 C.J. Turman grabbed 11 rebounds of the Bulldogs.

Berkmar was shorthanded inside when Rowe got into foul trouble because 6-foot-3 junior Jonathan Sanks is dealing with a back injury and unable to play. But the Patriots did get a lift in the first half from T.J. Williams, who hit a pair of 3-pointers.

Berkmar won the game at the foul line, hitting 18 of 29. Morgan County was 5 of 11.

Central Gwinnett 72, Harrison 58

Justin Martin had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Brian Egejuru contributed 15 points and six assists as Central Gwinnett defeated Harrison 72-58 in the opening boys game of the day-long event.

Central (1-1) led by 23 points in the third quarter before Harrison got within 11 in the late going. Mike Vos-Otin had 11 of his 15 points in the first half and the Black Knights led 33-21 at intermission.

Shaun Jones had nine points and five rebounds for Central, while Karon Jackson recorded eight points and three assists. Justice Morgan led Harrison (0-1) with 17 points.

It was a bounce-back victory for Central, which lost its opener on Tuesday at Collins Hill in overtime.

Berkmar girls 42, Morgan County 35

Daijah Cooke scored 12 points and Berkmar won its first game under new coach Tina Smosny-McGriff with a 42-35 victory over Morgan County in the first girls game.

Nina Williams and Ja'Taja Washington each scored seven points for the Patriots, who led 25-19 at halftime.

Cooke scored 14 points, but Berkmar (1-1) lost its opener 54-42 at Centennial on Friday night.