It took three quarters for Ridgeland-Hardeeville to find the form Saturday night that made them the state’s top team in Class 2-A. When they did, though, it proved to be devastating.
Trailing by five in the first minute of the final quarter, the Jaguars sprinted past Mullins for 13 consecutive points to continue their march through the playoffs with an 84-74 victory.
Gaylus Bailey and Tre’von Anderson each tallied eight points in the final quarter as Ridgeland-Hardeeville outscored the Auctioneers 27-12 over the final 8 minutes.
“For some reason, we know how to grind out a win,” coach Jeremiah Faber said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my kids tonight.”
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Bailey finished with 21 points in all for the Jaguars (21-3), while Anderson had 19. Kamrin Waddy added 15 points in a balanced scoring attack, and Jataree Williams knocked down four 3-pointers on the way to 14 points.
The Jaguars advanced to a Wednesday night game against Timberland, a winner over Battery Creek, with the site to be determined. Ridgeland-Hardeeville earned the right to host, but likely will have to find a bigger venue.
Fabian Carroll led Mullins with 37 points and Jalek Felton added 18, but both went cold in the final quarter as the Jaguars stepped up their defensive pressure. Carroll’s only points in the last stanza came on a four-point play, and Felton was held scoreless in the frame until the final 30 seconds.
“I talked to them about some of their guys,” Faber said, “but I told them I was more concerned about if we showed up. If the Jaguars I know show up, we win the ballgame. And that’s what happened tonight.”
The Jaguars trailed 60-57 after three quarters, which stretched to five when Carroll scored on a fast-break layup. But those were the last points Mullins scored for 4 1/2 minutes.
Williams hit a scoop shot to start the fun, followed by buckets from Bailey and Anderson as the Auctioneers started to crack under the RHHS defensive pressure. Williams’ 3-pointer put the Jaguars ahead to stay, and the lead grew to as many as 12 points in the final 2 minutes.