SNELLVILLE — For 35 minutes and 59 seconds of their Region 8-AAAAAA game against Central Gwinnett, Shiloh’s boys simply couldn’t buy a 3-point basket.
But the Generals found a way to score from beyond the arc when they needed to most.
Elliott Strickland’s 25-footer from the right wing went down as the buzzer sounded to force overtime, and Joshua Okogie hit two more 3s in the extra frame as Shiloh survived for a 67-60 win Friday night at home.
The three treys came in succession after the Generals (5-3, 4-1 in region play) had gone just 1 for their first 13 from behind the stripe, and helped Shiloh fend off a major second-half comeback by Central (6-4, 2-4) that had the Black Knights on the verge of a big road win.
“The game plan (most of the night) was to go inside-outside and attack (Central’s) bigs,” Shiloh coach Kim Rivers said. “We were settling for too many 3s early, and (Central) made a great run and took the lead.
“The keys for us (Friday) night (were) poise and pressure and patience. We lost a couple of games not closing out against Grayson (on Monday) and Collins Hill last Saturday. We were able to keep our poise even though we gave up the lead and momentum was going their way.”
Despite some poor perimeter shooting early on, momentum was all with Shiloh through the first 2 1/2 quarters.
A 10-1 second-quarter run — keyed by a full-court trapping defense that forced turnovers and turned into points, including six of Kareem Brewton’s game-high 23 points — helped the Generals build as much as a 14-point lead before taking a 26-16 lead into halftime.
That trend continued with an 8-2 run over the first 2:10 of the third quarter that gave Shiloh its biggest lead at 34-18 after Emir Basic’s transition layup with 5:50 left in the period.
But Central began to figure out Shiloh’s trap, and got its own transition game going behind Shaun Jones and Sam Westmoreland.
The duo combined for 10 points in a run of 14 straight points over a 4:10 span, and the Black Knights finished the quarter on a 16-2 run that pulled them to within 36-34 heading into the fourth.
And Central kept the pressure on, with Azavior Kufour and Khalil Ozuna each scoring four points in an 8-2 run that vaulted the Black Knights into the lead at 42-38 with 6:06 remaining.
The lead reached as much as 51-46 after a Westmoreland 3-pointer with 3:24 left, and Central still looked in command when Kufour hit a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to make the Black Knights’ lead 57-54.
Central then cut off Strickland’s driving lane and forced the Shiloh point guard to the perimeter, and with time running out, the senior let fly with a jumper that caught the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded to tie the game at 57-apiece heading into overtime.
And 10 seconds into the extra period, Strickland did manage to penetrate Central’s zone and kick out a pass to Okogie, who buried the open 3-pointer from the left wing to put Shiloh back in front at 60-57.
The two teams then exchanged missed free throws before Anthony Haskins hit the back end of two shots to pull Central to within 60-58 with 2:49 left.
And on the next possession, Strickland once again managed to snake his way through the Black Knights’ zone before dishing off to a wide-open Okogie, who knocked down another 3 with 1:28 to give the Generals breathing room at 63-58.
It was the last of Strickland’s game-high eight assists on the night, while Okogie wound up hitting two more free throws with 13 seconds left for the last of his 22 points on the night to put the game away.
Okogie also had eight rebounds, while Strickland had seven points and four steals to go with his assists.
Jones led Central with 15 points and nine boards, while Westmoeland and Kufour chipped in 11 points each for the Black Knights.
Central girls 60, Shiloh 24
In her first game back after missing four games with an injury, Alexandra Frazier had an impact with 22 points and four assists and the Black Knights (6-3, 3-3) rolled to the easy win.
But it was defense, particularly early in each half, that played an equal role in Central’s win.
“Our defense has been pretty good even in our losses,” Central coach David Allen said. “We said from the get-go we’re going to hang our hats on defense and rebounding. That’s going to create some extra opportunities for us on the offensive end. We did a good job of that (Friday) night.
“Obvious, getting Alex back (helped). She just relaxes everybody. It’s not just about her points. Everybody seems to find their role.”
The Black Knights forced the Generals (5-3, 3-2) into nine first-quarter turnovers in scoring the game’s first eight points, and eventually taking a 16-2 lead after one quarter.
Then, they went to work on the boards, outrebounding Shiloh 17-7 in the second quarter and building a 28-9 halftime lead.
Central then blew the game open in the third quarter by owning the glass 17-8 and outscoring the Generals 23-4 to expand the lead to 51-13 and force a running clock.
In addition to Frazier’s big night, the Black Knights also got 11 points and 10 rebounds from Tyra Woods, while Briana McGee added five points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals and Keara Lee chipped in eight points and five boards.
Kierra Ward led Shiloh with six points, with Racquel Cranston coming off the bench to contribute four points and five rebounds.