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Smith hits game-winner for Archer

DACULA -- When Dacula's Brandon Goodson nailed a 3-pointer with nine seconds left to pull the Falcons even with Archer at 73-73, it sure looked like this Region 8-AAAAAA boys basketball showdown was going to overtime.

Then Randall Smith took matters into his own hands.

Smith grabbed the ensuing inbounds pass, dribbled the length of the court and hit a driving, leaning runner that went in as time expired to lift Archer to a thrilling 75-73 win over Dacula.

With the win, Archer improves to a sparkling 12-2 overall and 7-0 in the region.

But no win may be more hard fought this season and could provide a nice test for the Tigers when February and March roll around with postseason play.

"Dacula has been playing so well and it's always a good rivalry with the schools so close," said Archer head coach Tim Watkins. "It was a great crowd in here tonight and we knew it was going to be a tough one. (Smith) hit a couple of game-winners for us down at Tift County and we know he's so tough to guard. So we just kept it moving and let (Smith) do the rest. It was a great game and it will help both teams down the road."

Dacula (9-4, 3-3) battled Archer for the entire 32 minutes, leading 25-20 after the first quarter and 37-34 at halftime.

In fact, Dacula led by as many as five in the opening period and built the advantage to eight with 5:30 to go in the first half.

Then Archer showed its toughness in the second half and outscored Dacula 12-6 to open the third quarter and grab a 46-43 lead.

But Dacula wasn't going away and the Falcons rallied to tie the contest at 56-56 heading to the final eight minutes.

Archer raced out to a 61-56 advantage to open the fourth quarter and never lost the lead until Williams drained his 3-pointer to tie the game at 73-all.

But that only set the stage for Smith and his heroics to pull out the win for Archer.

Smith led the way for Archer with a game-high 28 points, including 11 of 12 from the free throw line as the senior continuously drove to the basket and created scoring opportunities.

"Three out of the last four games have been real close and come down to the end like that and we just decided we would take the ball out, push it up the floor and try to catch (Dacula) off guard," Smith said. "My team trusted me, my team had my back the whole game and I knew I was going to finish it."

Archer also got 23 points from Nafis Floyd, including three 3-pointers, and Bryan Hamlet added 14 as Archer won for the seventh time in its last eight games.

Dacula got a double-double from Ifeanyi Okoye with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Kevon Tucker poured in 26 points to lead the Falcons' offense.

Jaylen Williams added 15 points and Goodson finished with 17 points, including the game-tying 3-pointer late in the game.

Archer girls 55, Dacula 46

Trailing by six at the end of the third quarter, Archer's girls rallied for a 55-46 win over Dacula in Region 8-AAAAAA girls basketball action.

Dacula led 39-33 heading to the fourth quarter, but Archer scored the first eight points of the period to take a 41-39 lead with 5:43 remaining and held that advantage en route to the victory.

Dacula (4-9, 2-4) did cut the Archer lead down to six at 48-42 with just over three minutes to go, but the Falcons could never draw any closer.

Archer (10-3, 5-2) was paced by Madison Newby, who led all scorers with 27 points while Cici Marseille had eight and Kayla Rogers added seven for the Tigers.

Faustine Aifuwa led the way for Dacula with 15 points and Anazjah Mayes added 12 for the Falcons.