His Eagles responded with authority, holding McEachern to just 19 second half points en route to a 57-51 victory and punching South Cobb’s ticket to the Class AAAAAA state playoffs in the process.
“We came out of the locker room with as much defensive intensity as I have seen all season,” said Moultrie after the win. “(McEachern) is a good team and they beat us pretty bad the first two times we played them, but I think once we got it close late we knew we had them.”
South Cobb’s rally was led by big-man Millique Johnson, who scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the second half — many of which came on hustle plays and offensive rebounds.
Down 46-39 to start the fourth quarter, Johnson sparked a 9-0 run in the first 2 minutes with six points of his own to five South Cobb a 48-46 lead.
With 3:21 to play in the game his lay-up after an Aaryon Davis steal broke a 51-51 tie, giving South Cobb a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“He’s been a dominant force all year for us and he brought it again tonight,” said Moultrie of Johnson. “It’s just a matter of us being patient and getting him the ball. We did a great job of that tonight.”
Josh Holliday, Brandon Barnes and Jarrell Pinkney all scored seven points for South Cobb to complement Johnson’s big night.
“For these guys to have the type of frustrating season we had, but respond like they did tonight is just great.” said Moultrie. “We’re the Cinderella story now and going to have a little fun from here on out.”
McEachern, the No. 3 seed 4AAAAAA, was led by Freddy Brown’s 17 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Logan McIntosh scored 14 points for the Indians, including four 3-pointers.
— By Chase Wallace
MDJ Sports Correspondent
Campbell 70, Marietta 67: The Campbell boys have qualified for the Class AAAAAA state tournament, knowing that they were last in the Region 4AAAAAA standings as recently as two weeks ago.
The young and inexperienced Spartans found ways to win games once February began, ending the regular season with wins over North Cobb, McEachern and Pebblebrook to become the fifth seed in the region tournament and avoiding Saturday’s play-in games.
Now they are playoff-bound with a 70-67 come-from-behind victory over No-4-seeded Marietta.
The Spartans going 27-of-36 from the free throw helped keep their chances for a region title intact.
Campbell (13-13) will now have a rematch with Pebblebrook today in the semifinals after the Spartans beat the Falcons in overtime Feb. 8 in the regular season finale.
“It’s been a tough year,” Campbell coach James Gwyn said. “We’ve started the season 1-6 and we were last place in the region for a long time and then we started winning some games and getting some confidence. I rather play one game (to get in the playoffs) than two, no matter who we play.”
The Blue Devils (18-8) ends their season following a 17-2 start to the year. They had struggled as of late, losing five of their last six games to end the regular season.
The Blue Devils got hot early and opened the game with a 16-8 lead. They remained in the driver’s seat for most of the first three quarters, ending the third with a 47-44 lead.
But the fourth quarter belonged to Campbell.
A three-point play by Laz Walker, who led the Spartans with 21 points, tied the game at 47-all and DeMarcus Weaver’s only field goal of the game gave Campbell a lead it would never relinquish. The Spartans’ lead grew slowly and a layup by Dom Klein in traffic extended it to five with 4 minutes to play.
Afterward, Campbell held Marietta off on the free throw line, and the outcome could have been different had it not been for Jequan Ward’s clutch foul shots down the stretch. His first pair opened an 8-point lead with 2 minutes remaining in regulation and his second pair of free throws put the Spartans ahead by five with 38 seconds left.
Michael Olmert also had a great night on the free throw line, going 16-for-19, and finished with 22 points.
Kirvonte Benson finished with a double-double for Marietta with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Cameron Jordan was also in double figures with 13.
— By Adam Carrington