SUWANEE — On a day he was honored for scoring prowess, Devin Mitchell’s most important play was a pass.
With his team trailing Peachtree Ridge by two in the final minute, the Collins Hill senior and Alabama signee drove past a defender, spun and dished to his younger brother Jalen in the corner. Jalen Mitchell delivered a clutch 3-pointer, the decisive basket in the Eagles’ 49-46 win over rival Peachtree Ridge on Friday afternoon.
“Usually I trust myself a little bit more than him,” a laughing Devin Mitchell said. “But I got it to him. I saw (Peachtree Ridge’s Connor) Heyward. He kind of bit on my first move, so I got around him. I saw my brother’s guy come to help and I knew he was there in the corner. I kicked it to him and he hit a big shot.”
It was a common theme for Jalen Mitchell all night.
The junior had game highs of 24 points and four 3-pointers, stepping up when the Peachtree Ridge defensive focus was on his older brother. His last 3-pointer was the biggest and he finished the win off with a pair of free throws with 1.3 seconds left.
“Just get open basically, clear out and let (Devin) take someone off the dribble,” Jalen Mitchell said of the final play. “I kind of felt like he was going to pass it to me in the corner. As soon as he made that spin, he saw me and I hit it.”
Most everyone in the gym probably expected the shot to come from Devin Mitchell, the county’s top returning scorer.
“I thought he was going to shoot for a second, too,” a laughing Jalen Mitchell said of his older brother, who had a nice all-around game with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The brother-to-brother connection held as the game-winner thanks to a clutch defensive play from one of their teammates, Devin Watson.
After Jalen Mitchell’s 3-pointer, Peachtree Ridge called timeout with 25 seconds left and got the ball to its playmaker, sophomore point guard Aaron Augustin. Augustin, who led the Lions with 14 points, drove to the hoop and collided with Watson, who stood tall and took the charge with 3.3 seconds left.
It was the sixth turnover of the fourth quarter for Peachtree Ridge, which had just three turnovers in the first three quarters combined.
“Aaron just did an unbelievable job of getting into the lane,” Collins Hill boys coach Eric Nathan said. “It didn’t matter who we put on him. We were just begging somebody to take a charge. Watson stepped up and took that charge.”
The turnover issues, coupled with 2-for-11 shooting (18.2 percent), led to just four points in the fourth quarter from the Lions.
“It didn’t (feel like we held them to four points) because they kept getting in the lane,” Nathan said. “We stepped up. We didn’t take the charges but we did step up and contest.”
Collins Hill improves to 9-9 overall and 6-3 in Region 7-AAAAAA, edging slightly ahead of Peachtree Ridge (9-10, 6-4). The Eagles now face Duluth in an important region game Tuesday, giving them another chance to move up the region standings.
The Lions also got 11 points and 10 rebounds from Amir Warnock, nine points from Milz Tatum and eight points from Brandon Hopson.
Peachtree Ridge girls 45, Collins Hill 38
Peachtree Ridge went on a 20-0 run over the third and fourth quarters Friday, rallying from a double-figure deficit for a 45-38 win over Collins Hill.
The Lions trailed by nine at halftime and went down 28-17 early in the third quarter when Collins Hill capped an 11-0 run. The Eagles still led 30-22 midway through the third quarter before Peachtree Ridge reeled off its 20-0 run.
A quick 6-0 run in the final 30 seconds was the difference-maker, with the final two baskets coming from Marisa Bowman. That spurt gave the Lions a 34-30 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The advantage grew to 42-30 before Collins Hill scored again with 2:51 left in the fourth quarter. The Eagles got back within 43-38 on a 3-pointer by Sydney Brown (nine points) with 26 seconds left, but they never got any closer.
Bowman led Peachtree Ridge with 17 points and six rebounds. Lorrie Cruse had 16 points, 13 in the second half, and Courtney Hopson added eight points and six boards.
Brittany Stowers led Collins Hill with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Kyra Dixon had nine points and 10 rebounds, and Marissa Bayer had six points and six boards off the bench.