Mavs take control in SCC boys race
With two weeks left in the regular season, Marvin Ridge High's boys have moved into sole possession of first place in the Southern Carolina Conference.
The Mavericks avenged their Jan. 18 overtime loss to Sun Valley with a thrilling 51-50 road win over the Spartans on Friday.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” said Marvin Ridge coach Gosnell White. “(Sun Valley) plays hard and they are very well coached. We told our team to hang in there and let the chips fall.”
The Mavs are now 5-1 in the SCC and 11-7 overall. With four league games left, Marvin Ridge holds a one-game lead over Sun Valley (4-2) and Weddington (4-2).
Senior point guard Logan Jackson, a three-year starter, was stellar down the stretch.
The Mavs trailed by six entering the fourth quarter, but Jackson's 3-pointer tied the game at 46 with 2:30 left.
They trailed 50-49 when Jackson drove the lane and missed a floater, but got the rebound and drew a foul with 9.9 seconds left.
Jackson has struggled at the foul line this year, entering the game shooting just 44.2 percent (19-of-43).
But he made both, and it gave Marvin Ridge the victory — the Spartans never got another shot off.
“Past games during the season, I haven’t been hitting my free throws," said Jackson. “I have been working on them in practice.
“Once the first one went in I was kind of happy, now it’s a tie ball game. The second free throw gave us the lead. I was happy it went in."
Sun Valley had one more chance, but could not get a shot off.
“We knew they were going to their big guns,” said White. "We just wanted to stay in front and challenge with out fouling.”
Jackson led all scorers with 16 points, including 10 in the second half, and added five rebounds and four assists. He finished 6-of-7 from the foul line.
“He played big,” said White of Jackson. “He stayed within himself and kept running the team. I think he did an awesome job.”
Sun Valley sophomore center Hakeem Polk gave his team a 48-46 lead with an inside bucket, and Sam Vogt responded at the other end, giving the Mavs a one-point lead with a triple.
Kendall Ratliff gave the Spartans their last lead, at 49-48, by scoring on an offensive rebound.
White was pleased with how his team reacted in the intense atmosphere.
“The guys kept fighting and kept hanging in there when we got down," White said. "We just trusted each other making the right play, and we made some big plays.”
The Mavericks got nine points each from Taylor Neal, David Kelcy, and John Emezie.
Kelcy and Emezie combined for all 11 of the Mavericks' points in the first quarter.
Emezie had a team-high seven rebounds, while Kelcy pulled down six.
“This game we were looking more to pass first,” said Emezie. “People weren’t worried about stats. It was all about winning this game.”
Polk led the Spartans with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Polk scored nine straight points for the Spartans in the third quarter.
Ratliff and Jacquez Johnson each added eight points for Sun Valley.
Marvin Ridge, Sun Valley and Weddington entered Friday's action in a three-way tie for first. But thanks to Anson's win over the Warriors, the Mavericks are alone in first with four games left.
“It’s awesome,” said Neal. “We have never had the opportunity to control our own destiny. Now we have that chance.”
White knows his team has to maintain its focus.
“They all will be tough,” White said. “We don’t have an easy road, but we do control our own destiny.”
Both teams will be back in action Tuesday, when Sun Valley hosts Parkwood and Marvin Ridge travels to Anson.
Marvin Ridge boys 51, Sun Valley 50
Marvin Ridge (11-7, 5-1)
Logan Jackson 4 6-7 16, Taylor Neal 3 2-2 9, David Kelcy 4 1-2 9, John Emezie 4 1-1 9, Sam Vogt 2 0-0 6, Ben Willams 1 0-0 2, Kris Watkins 0 0-0 0, Ross Corday 0 0-0 0, Roen Ourant 0 0-0 0, Zach Frye 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 10-12 51.
Sun Valley (11-8, 4-2)
Hakeem Polk 7 1-4 15, Kendall Ratliff 4 4-5 8, Kevin Saxton 1 0-1 2, Isaiah Blanchett 1 0- 0 2, Daquan Moody 2 2-2 7, Albert Funderburk 1 2-4 4, Jacquez Johnson 3 2-2 8, Ty Thompson 0 0-0 0, Jimmy Hudgens 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 11-18 50.
Marvin Ridge^11^15^10^15 - 51
Sun Valley^15^10^17^8 - 50
3-pointers: MR 5 (Jackson 2, Vogt 2, Neal); SV 1 (Moody). Rebounds: MR 26 (Emezie 7, Kelcy 6, Jackson 5); SV 31 (Polk 11, Johnson 5). Assists: MR 11 (Jackson 4); SV 10 (Saxton 3, Ratliff 3). Steals: MR 6 (Jackson 2, Neal 2, Vogt 2); SV 7 (Saxton 3). Blocks: MR 3 (Neal, Kelcy, Emezie); SV 1 (Ratliff).