On most nights like Friday night, when it was evident that both teams would have to scratch for every point they got, Battery Creek's poor third quarter against Ridgeland-Hardeeville would have sealed it's fate.
Someone should have told the Dolphins.
Devontae Wilson's driving bucket with 1.4 seconds remaining gave Battery Creek a 63-62 win over Ridgeland-Hardeeville and advanced the Dolphins into today's championship game of the Bobcat Classic at Bluffton High School.
The game-winning basket was the last of three straight Wilson scored to close out the game and he scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
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"I was just trying to be aggressive, trying to make shots," Wilson said.
Wilson also hit a tip-in in the final minute to send Thursday's game against Bluffton into overtime before the Dolphins went on to win.
"Big-time players play big in big-time games," Battery Creek coach Antoine Youmans said of Wilson's Bobcat Classic heroics. "He struggled from the line but he played tough."
Wilson's heroics seemed improbable at best after the Dolphins' tough third frame.
Trailing at halftime 34-32, Ridgeland-Hardeeville doubled up Battery Creek 18-9 in the third quarter thanks to crisp passing and tough defense on the Jaguars' part, combined with sloppy ball handling and poor shooting by the Dolphins.
Battery Creek managed just three field goals and went 2 of 8 from the line during the quarter. But a Miguel Crawley 3-pointer late in the quarter, Battery Creek's lone 3 of the night, brought the deficit back down to single digits.
"We were cold from the three-point line," Youmans said. "We really didn't try and get the ball inside at all early. I don't like the 3s. I think we rely on them too much, and they're fool's gold."
In the fourth quarter, Youmans went to the press to spur his team.
"I just wanted to try and turn them over, to get some steals," Youmans said.
Initially, while Battery Creek's scoring picked up, Ridgeland-Hardeeville was finding the hole in the middle and the teams were trading baskets. But eventually, the Jaguars' miscues and the Dolphins' aggressiveness closed the gap for Battery Creek.
"We're learning not to give up," Youmans said. "You never know how it's going to end up."
Battery Creek's Yuneek Crittendon led all scorers for the second straight night, putting in 18. Crawley added 12.
For Ridgeland-Hardeeville, Terrance Frazier and Derrell Myers led the way with 13, while Gaylus Bailey added 12
The Jaguars face BrewBaker Tech at 4:30 today, while the Dolphins face Alter (Ohio) in the championship at 7:30 p.m.
"I've heard they're the real deal," Wilson said of Alter, "but we'll put up a fight and try to get a W."
Frederick Douglass (Ga.) 80, Bluffton 27: Tiffany Banks led the Bobcats with 11 points.
"I felt we could compete with them, they were pretty good." Bluffton coach Lonnie Roberts said. "We got a lot of defensive stops, but we generated no offense, at all. That was a big blow to us."
Whale Branch 57, Harvest Community (Fla.) 23: Kemoni Jenkins poured in 23 points and had eight steals to lead the Warriors.
Whale Branch (7-3) will play Glenville Academy at noon today.
Glynn Academy (Ga.) 49, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 28: Aaliyah Hill led the Jaguars with 16 points.
Alter (Ohio) 65, BrewBaker Tech 49
McIntosh County (Ga.) 44, Groves (Ga.) 32
Bluffton 76, Fisher Catholic (Ohio) 34
Battery Creek 63, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 662
Glynn Academy (Ga.) 49, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 28
Whale Branch 57, Harvest Community (Fla.) 23
Frankfort (Ky.) 76, BrewBaker Tech 50
Frederick Douglass (Ga.) 80, Bluffton 27
All games at Bluffton High School
7th place: Fisher Catholic (Ohio) vs. Groves (Ga.), 10:30 p.m.
5th place: Bluffton vs. McIntosh County (Ga.), 1:30 p.m.
3rd place: BrewBaker Tech vs. Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 4:30 p.m.
Championship: Alter (Ohio) vs. Battery Creek, 7:30 p.m.
7th place: Harvest Community (Fla.) vs. Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 10:30 a.m.
5th place: Whale Branch vs. Glynn Academy (Ga.), 1:30 p.m.
3rd place: BrewBaker Tech vs. Bluffton, 3 p.m.
Championship: Frankfort (Ky.) vs. Frederick Douglass (Ga.), 6 p.m.