Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan — Peachtree Ridge's Kevin Barnes (21), Aaron Augustin (22), Quinton McBride (12) and Tim Park (24) celebrate their 67-60 victory over Shiloh during the second round of Class AAAAAA state boys basketball playoffs in Snellville Saturday.
SNELLVILLE — Amir Warnock knew the task handed to him.
The Peachtree Ridge junior post player knew the talent of Shiloh’s 7-foot center Trayvon Reed and he knew it was his job to contain the force in the paint if the Lions had a shot at a road upset in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
“He got me once,” Warnock said after the game smiling. “I let him get me.”
The operative word is once.
Not only did Warnock contain Reed, he nearly silenced him, trading in a big scoring night for one spent playing defense. His reward: Another game this season after Peachtree Ridge beat Shiloh 67-60. The win sets the Lions up with a showdown with Wheeler after the Wildcats dispatched of Meadowcreek.
Warnock scored a solid 12 points and grabbed five rebounds, but his impact went much deeper. He used his bigger frame to keep Reed out of the paint, not allowing the center to receive the ball on the low block and then refusing him the opportunity to back his way toward the rim. Reed ended the game with just nine points and took plenty of shots from near the perimeter.
“I just kept a body on him,” Warnock said. “I was trying to keep him out of the paint the best I could.”
The “one time” Warnock referenced was an alley-oop from guard Nate Mason that Reed drew the foul and slammed it over Warnock. After the play in the third quarter, Warnock walked off the floor with a small smile on his face. Reed missed the free throw and the dunk was the last points of the night for him. Reed did block four shots and grab 16 rebounds.
“I was trying to play the best defense that I could,” Warnock said. “I couldn’t stop him from scoring, I just wanted to contain him.”
And with Warnock busy silencing one of Shiloh’s two standout juniors, the rest of his Lions took up the scoring task.
Including Warnock five different Peachtree Ridge players scored in double figures, led by Jordan Capps with a team-high 20 points. Capps also had seven rebounds and five assists. Brandon Johnson and Quinton McBride each scored 11 and freshmen Aaron Augustin scored 10, including a pair of 3s in the decisive third quarter.
Tied at 29 after the first half, Peachtree Ridge asserted itself early in the third quarter. The Lions opened the quarter on a 14-1 run. They got a pair of baskets from Warnock and nine points from Augustin in the quarter.
“We talked to them about just playing in the moment (at halftime),” Peachtree Ridge head coach Keith Arrington said. “Don’t look ahead, just this moment is all that we want.”
The Lions took the lead by taking advantage of open shots created by breaking the Generals’ full-court press and Shiloh helped by struggling to make baskets around the rim. Mason, who joined Capps with 20 points, didn’t score a point in the quarter, missing on drives to the basketball and coming up empty on a pair of free throws.
Mason scored 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Generals turned to their point guard to make a run, but never got closer than five points. The Lions made 9 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter. Johnson was 6 of 6. The shooting from the line in the quarter was a big improvement on the first three. In the game, Peachtree Ridge made just 13 of 22, with Capps making 2 of 9.
“We’ve not been a good free-throw shooting team all year,” Arrington said. “But if we make them in the clutch we’ll be OK.”
And they certainly were Saturday — the whole team.
“When we are unselfish is when we play at our best,” Warnock said. “That is what I love about this team.”