Osborne held the Yellow Jackets’ leading scorer to 12 points, but Potter’s teammates helped fill the void in a 74-58 victory Wednesday at Sprayberry.
Potter came into the week averaging better than 20 points, but Sprayberry (17-4, 10-0 Region 7AAAAA) didn’t need that much from their senior, a Florida Atlantic commitment.
Nkem Ojeh scored 17 points in the second half and finished with a game-high 19, to go with 13 rebounds and five blocks.
Wayne Jackson and David Tshamala each scored 13 points, with Maurion Skrine contributing 10. Jackson had nine rebounds.
“We got some help from the bench to extend the lead when we had some guys in foul trouble,” Sprayberry coach Marc Carver said. “We struggled (Wednesday) shooting 3-pointers and guys stepped up in other ways.
“These kids are very unselfish, and all of them contribute in a variety of ways.”
Sprayberry needed all the help it could get.
The Yellow Jackets trailed 15-11 at the end of the first quarter, but they outscored the Cardinals 22-11 in the second quarter to stake a 33-26 halftime lead.
Osborne (14-6, 6-4) came back to lead 24-23 with 2:25 remaining in the second quarter, but Sprayberry surged ahead for a 50-32 margin following a 27-8 run that spanned the rest of the period and the first 6 minutes of the third.
Jontae Williams’ jumper fueled the run. Skrine nailed a 3-pointer and a technical foul on Osborne coach Emmett Rouse allowed Potter to net two free throws. Skrine added the second of his two 3-pointers to end the Yellow Jackets’ initial burst, leaving them with a 33-24 lead with under a minute to play before halftime.
The 18-point second-half lead didn’t last as Osborne rallied.
Behind seven points from Kyrie Hogan, the Cardinals closed the gap to 51-41 at the end of the third quarter. The deficit remained at 10 with 4:35 left after Ojeh’s jumper, but six points from Hogan and D’Haire Haney pulled Osborne to within 57-53.
Carver said after the game that he knew Osborne would make a run.
“They’re quick and athletic and they don’t give up,” the Sprayberry coach said. “We’ve been through these battles with them a number of times.”
That knowledge may have helped Sprayberry in the end. Seeing their big lead slip away, the Yellow Jacket turned to their defense to change the outcome.
Two steals from Tshamala and another from Jackson led to seven straight points for Sprayberry, which went ahead 64-53 with 2:15 on the clock.
“We have some quick kids, and they came up with some big steals late in the game,” Carver said. “We didn’t panic, because we’ve been in these situations before.”
Holding a 66-58 lead with 1:45 remaining in the game, Sprayberry went 6-for-8 from the free-throw line down the stretch to close the game on an 8-0 run.
The Yellows Jackets were 24-of-31 from the line for the game, compared to 9-of-19 for Osborne.
Sprayberry, which has won eight straight and 16 of its last 17 games, now holds a four-game lead over Osborne in Region 7AAAAA’s southern half, with a three-game edge on Pope, its next opponent.
“It’s getting down to crunch time for the rest of the region to catch us with four games left on the schedule,” Carver said. “We’re looking for that top seed and have to prepare for Pope on Friday.”
Hogan totaled a team-high 18 points, while Delone Murphy added a double-double with 12 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. Haney finished with nine points and eight rebounds, with Shaihem Hogan contributing eight rebounds.
Osborne 77, Sprayberry 44: The Lady Cardinals had a 20-7 edge in the first quarter, setting the tone early.
Zutorya Cook finished with 28 points and six steals for Osborne (14-6, 10-0), while Nikira Goings was close behind with 24 points and six steals.
Jazzmyn Rouse and Astavea McCowan each had seven points for the Lady Cardinals, which is 13-2 since losing four of their first five games to begin the season.
Osborne has a 3½-game lead on Kell for the subregion’s top spot.