SNELLVILLE -- A loss to Dacula on Tuesday, which sent them into a first-place tie in Region 8-AAAAAA, left Shiloh's boys feeling a bit introspective heading into Friday night's regular-season finale showdown with co-leader Archer.
"We needed to win this one, especially headed into the region tournament," Generals guard Nate Mason said. "Trying to clinch that (regular-season championship and) first seed, ... we had to win this one to make a statement."
Mission accomplished -- and then some.
Mason helped Shiloh control the perimeter with a game-high 20 points, while fellow junior Trayvon Reed dominated inside as the Generals spoke loud and clear to close out the regular season with a 69-44 home win.
The 7-foot Reed complemented Mason's big night on the perimeter by finishing just short of a triple-double with 14 points, 18 rebounds and nine blocked shots as the Generals (19-6, 13-3) got their regular season title and No. 1 seed at next week's region tournament.
"This is the best game we've played all season," Shiloh coach Kim Rivers said. "You can't ask for more. The kids were a little down after the Dacula game (a 64-54 loss), and a lot of people were counting us out after we lost to Dacula and Brookwood (two weeks ago). They refocused and set goals to try to win the region. I'm proud of them."
That focus was particularly evident after Reed, who did not start to allow Kyle Lewis a Senior Night start, entered about three minutes into the game and asserted his size in the lane and on the glass.
"Coach (Rivers) was just telling me to control the paint," Reed said. "Everything that went up, I just contested. I didn't go for pump fakes much, and just controlled the paint.
"The whole game, I feel like we played a whole 32 minutes (of) hard play. Everybody was together."
But it was Mason who got the Generals started, hitting two of his four first-half 3-pointers as Shiloh outscored Archer 13-6 over the final 5:15 of the first quarter to turn a one-point deficit into a 19-14 lead.
Mason then connected on another 3-pointer and Reed slammed down an offensive rebound in the first 33 seconds of the second quarter to push the lead into double digits at 24-14.
Archer tried to fight back, twice pulling as close as eight points, the second time on Randall Smith's drive through the lane for a layup with 4:11 left in the first half.
But Mason's pull-up jumper at the foul line and transition baskets by Reed and Mason ignited a 13-2 run over the final 3:25 of the half, sending Shiloh into intermission with a commanding 41-22 lead.
Kelvin Nwanze scored off a feed from Randall Smith nine seconds into the third quarter to pull Archer to within 41-24, but Reed hit buckets on back-to-back possessions and Bryan Thompson added a stickleback as part of a 12-1 run that pushed the lead to 53-25, and the Generals cruised from there.
Reed and Mason, who added four assists, were hardly alone in contributing to the win.
Lewis made the most of his start with 10 points, while Evyn Smith chipped in five points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals, Thompson finished with four points, 10 rebounds and three blocks and Cordell Rhymer chipped in eight points.
Randall Smith, meanwhile, was one of the few bright spots for Archer (19-6, 12-4) with 16 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals, while Bryan Hamlet added six points and six rebounds.
And as coach Tim Watkins pointed out, the upcoming region tournament provides the Tigers an opportunity to put Friday's loss behind them.
"Give Shiloh credit. They played outstanding (Friday) night, and we didn't," Watkins said. "But (the first round) Tuesday is the only thing that matters now."