White Knoll couldn’t have been dealt any two tougher blows than it has received to open its Region 5-4A schedule.
For North Augusta’s Keyon West, his first two games in region play have been memorable. West’s lay-in with 5.4 seconds remaining rescued the visiting Yellow Jackets from wasting a 15-point second half lead in a 58-56 victory Friday night.
For the Timberwolves, it was their second straight loss in the waning seconds. In the region opener at Aiken on Tuesday, another last-second basket spelled a one-point setback.
“Our kids are working so hard, and we can’t get the breaks,” White Knoll coach Bret Jones said. “We played really well, but it’s getting hard to keep the kids feeling like they’re doing the right thing. We have to keep plugging along, and they will begin to see some success.”
West had a stick-back field goal in the closing seconds of North Augusta’s two-point win against Lexington on Tuesday. These types of close games are what Yellow Jackets coach Al Young has come to expect.
“It’s going to be a nail-biter every night,” Young said of the region. “We know and understand that, and we don’t think anyone has an upper hand at this point. We got our breaks before region play, but it’s going to be tough every night.”
White Knoll’s Emarius Logan, who had a game-high 29 points, took the final inbounds pass the length of the court, and his running 3-pointer from the wing bounced off the front rim as time expired.
“The play worked perfect, except the shot didn’t fall,” Jones said. “He got a good shot, and that’s all you can ask for in that situation.”
It looked for a while that North Augusta (12-3, 2-0) would cruise to victory. The Yellow Jackets opened a 33-24 halftime lead before increasing that to 44-29 at the middle of the third quarter.
But Logan, White Knoll’s junior point guard, scored 15 straight points to tie the game at 44 with over a minute remaining in the third quarter.
Chandler Harrison and Christian Davis connected on consecutive 3-pointers in the final 39 seconds of the third quarter to give North Augusta a 50-46 lead going into the final eight minutes.
“Logan is a great player, and we know people are going to make runs. We have to be able to hold on and be able to fight back,” Young said. “Any time you can hit a 3, it’s momentum and always good. I don’t want to live and die by it, but when they go down, it’s a great thing.”
White Knoll trailed 56-49 before scoring seven straight to tie the score with 1:02 remaining. Miles Mathis, who was playing his first varsity game, nailed a 3-pointer, and Najee Garvin knocked down two free throws before Logan tied it at 56.
North Augusta never called time out and ran the clock down until Harrison drove the lane and dished off to West for the game-winner.
Christian Davis led North Augusta with 20 points. Malik Dunbar scored 13, and Jaquez Smith added 11.
Garvin supported Logan with 16 points for White Knoll (7-10, 0-2).
NA: Christian Davis 20, Malik Dunbar 13, Jaquez Smith 11, West 7, Johnson 4, Harrison 3. WK: Emarius Logan 29, Najee Garvin 16, Mathis 7, Knight 4.