The No. 6 ranked Miller Grove Wolverines rallied from down as much as 11 points in the first half to improve to 7-0 in Region 5-5A action with a 61-52 win over the Southwest DeKalb Panthers at the “Purple Palace” on Friday night.
George Wilson’s three-pointer to open the second half pulled Miller Grove (12-6, 7-0) even with the Panthers for the first time in the game at 24-24.
The game was tied at 26-26 and 28-28 before Southwest’s Tabais Long hit a free throw to give the Panthers their final lead of the game at 29-28 with 4:09 to play in the third quarter.
Kevin Paige had a pair of free throws and a layup as the Wolverines took the lead for good at 32-29.
Mandarius Dickerson and Kadarius Johnson struck again from the three-point line to pull Southwest within 38-35 with 1:23 left in the third quarter. Miller Grove’s Jalen Mason sent the Wolverines into the fourth quarter up 41-35 with a three-pointer of his own.
Maurice Harvey hit a pair of free throws at the 6:02 mark of the fourth quarter to put the Wolverines up 12 (48-36) before the Panthers (12-9, 6-3) would put together a furious rally to close the gap.
Southwest would take advantage of 5 Miller Grove turnovers as they began to rally. Dickerson and Johnson would fuel the rally with 5 and 4 points, respectively, before Hardy would heat up again for Miller Grove. Hardy would score the next 9 points for Miller Grove including a reverse layup with 56 seconds to play for a 59-52 lead.
Harvey and Mason both hit a free throw in the closing seconds for the final of 61-52.
The Panthers got off to a quick start against the Wolverines striking from three-point range with two by Dickerson in the first quarter on the way to an 8-2 advantage.
Southwest answered a quick five points on a steal and dunk and a three-pointer to end the first quarter by Miller Grove’s Naquante Hardy with more outside sharpshooting to open the second quarter.
Johnson hit a three from the right corner and Darius Hogan hit a pair as the lead ballooned to 11 (23-12) with 2:21 left in the first half.
Hardy keyed a big rally to end the half with 7 of his 12 first half points coming in the final 1:16 of the second quarter. A steal ended up in a three-point play for Hardy who followed with a pull up jumper and a drive to the basket with 11 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 24-21 at the half.
The Wolverines got a game high 25 points from Hardy. Johnson finished with 16, Dickerson 14 and Hogan 10 for the Panthers.
(G) SW DeKalb 61, Miller Grove 29
The No. 3 ranked Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers took advantage for 41 turnovers to roll past the Miller Grove Lady Wolverines 61-29 to improve to 9-0 in Region 5-5A play.
Texas A&M signee Jada Walton had eight points in the first quarter, including the final six to get the Panthers out to a 14-6 lead.
Eleven second quarter turnovers by Miller Grove turned into a 32-14 halftime lead for Southwest behind the play of Michaela Benefield (5 points), Ruona Uwasiaba (5 points) and Desiray Coulter (4 points).
Southwest had seven turnovers in the third quarter, but again took advantage of 12 by Miller Grove to extend the lead to 48-33 by the end of the period.
Walton had six more points in the third while Benefield and Lanee Edwards added four each. Miller Grove’s nine points all came on three-pointers by Kashuna Patterson who would score all 15 of her team’s points in the second half.
The Panthers (17-4, 9-0) were led by Walton with 14 points, Lanee Edwards with 10 and Michaela Benefield with 9 points and 9 rebounds in the game.
Miller Grove (7-12, 2-5) got a game-high 23 points from Patterson and a game-high 10 rebounds by Dejah Turner.