KD Johnson’s pass under the basket for a Wytavis Searcy buzzer-beating layup gave the No. 1 ranked Southwest DeKalb Panthers a 56-55 win over the No. 4 ranked Lithonia Bulldogs at Southwest DeKalb on Tuesday night.
The two Class 5A Top 5 ranked teams collided for the first time this season in Region 5-5A action with the Panthers (5-1) claiming the top spot with a 3-0 mark in region play while the Bulldogs (5-3, 1-1) dropped their first game in region play.
Eric Gaines had put the Bulldogs in the lead (55-54) for the fourth time in the final period of play as he hit one of two free throws with 21.6 seconds to play in the game.
The Panthers got the ball out of bounds in front of their own bench with 8.6 seconds to play and Johnson threw the ball into James Glisson who gave it back to him. Johnson worked out of a crowd and drove to the baseline where he started to the basket and as a Bulldog defender cut him off he found Searcy underneath.
The pass got Searcy in between a pair of defenders and he went up for the game-winner just as the clock ticked under one second to give his team the last second victory. His teammates swarmed him on the court as the Panthers’ fans celebrated the victory.
Lithonia got the ball with 1:17 left in the game as a mad scramble for the basketball went from the Bulldog end to the Panther end before going out of bounds as players collided trying to get the ball. Lithonia was awarded the ball as the referees called a jump ball.
The Bulldogs then ran the clock down and Gaines was fouled and went to the line for his free throws with 21.6 seconds to play.
Southwest DeKalb had opened up a 24-12 lead at the half on the back of an 8-0 run to start the second quarter spurred by Johnson’s six points that included a driving dunk and a steal and layup.
Lithonia hit the boards hard in the third quarter out-rebounding the Panthers 11-5 as they put together an 18-5 run to take the lead. N’Kyzie Hawkins keyed the run with two-three pointers as he scored 11 points in the run. His second three tied the game at 28-28 with 4:42 left in the quarter.
Justin Myles got a put back and a layup on a nice pass by Brison Rockcliffe to give Lithonia its biggest lead of the game at 34-31.
Southwest DeKalb lost its leader in Johnson as he got in foul trouble with three quick fouls in the third quarter as they fell behind for the first time since the opening moments of the game. Myles Love took a pass from Jarrett Walton for an open three and hit nothing but net to send the Panthers into the fourth quarter up 38-36.
Myles took over for the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter as he hit for 14 points getting eight inside with offensive boards and nice passes from teammates as Lithonia rallied from four point down to take a 48-45 lead with 4:46 remaining in the game.
Baskets by Rion White and Searcy put the Panthers back in front 49-48 with 3:27 left. The teams traded leads again as Myles for Lithonia and Walton traded threes before Myles connected from the left corner for his second three of the quarter for a 54-52 Lithonia advantage.
Johnson rebounded his own miss with 1:38 to play to knot the game at 54-54.
Justin Myles had 18 points, N’Kyzie Hawkins 11 and Brison Rockcliffe 10 to lead the Bulldogs. Broderick Jones chipped in 10 rebounds.
Johnson hit for a game-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds to go with five assists for Southwest DeKalb. James Glisson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Panthers.
(G) SW DeKalb 53, Lithonia 28
The Class 5A No. 3 ranked Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers held the Lithonia Lady Bulldogs to just six first-half points as they rolled to their sixth victory on the season by a score of 53-28 in the early game at Southwest DeKalb.
Jayla Kimbrough hit for the last eight points of the first half, including a three-pointer with eight seconds left as the Lady Panthers got out to the 26-6 lead at the half.
N’Lyia Perkins drive for a layup with 3:55 to play in the third quarter was the final two points of 11 in the quarter for Lithonia as the Lady Panthers held a 34-17 advantage.
Kimbrough started an 8-0 run for Southwest DeKalb with a short jumper shot banked off the glass from the left side with 2:30 left in the third quarter. Baskets by Adrianna Brownlee, Kennedy Mormon and Ya’Ria Sanders made it a 42-17 lead for Southwest DeKalb.
Raven Thurman’s three-pointer to open the third quarter and a layup by Lauryn Bell on an assist from Edwards extended the lead to 47-17 and Lithonia would get no closer than the final 25-point deficit (53-28) the rest of the way.
Kimbrough finished with a game-high 12 points to lead the Lady Panthers (5-1, 3-) who sit atop the Region 5-5A standings. Raven Thurman scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Lanee Edwards added 10 points.
Lithonia was led by Zariyana Mitchell with eight points and nine rebounds.