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Last-second magic for Warriors

By Kevin Eckleberry keckleberry@civitasmedia.com

4 months 12 days 4 hours ago |384 Views | | | Email | Print

With the game, and the season on the line, LaGrange Academy’s Chase Wardlaw put the ball in his brother’s hands.


With time running down in Thursday’s GISA state-tournament game against Sherwood Christian, LaGrange Academy had the ball behind by two points.


Wardlaw, who had a game-high 28 points, had the option of taking a shot himself, or passing the ball off if he felt a teammate had a better look.


Wardlaw spotted his brother Daniel Wardlaw beyond the 3-point line, and he passed him the ball.


Turns out, that decision was the right one.


Daniel Wardlaw drained the 3-pointer to give the Warriors a one-point lead, and they made a defensive stop to preserve the 43-42 victory.


“We had (Chase Wardlaw) coming off the pick-and-roll play that we run,” LaGrange Academy coach Britt Gaylor said. “He made the right pass off of it. And Daniel stepped up and knocked down a huge shot.”


The Warriors have advanced to the second round of the state tournament, and they’ll face Monsignor Donovan at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Tifton.


The Warriors, the number four seed from Region 4-AA, struggled early against Sherwood, the champion of Region 1-AA.


The Warriors had a hard time getting anything going offensively, and they trailed 26-14 at the half.


In the second half, while the LaGrange Academy offense found its footing, the defense continued to play well.


“We played well defensively for most of the ballgame, and that’s really what kept us in it and won it for us,” Gaylor said.


The Warriors were still down by eight points midway through the fourth period.


“We got in a little half-court trap and turned them over a few times, and Chase made a couple of plays down the stretch and got us back in it,” Gaylor said.


After the go-ahead shot, Sherwood still had seven seconds to work with.


“Our guys were pretty pumped. We got settled down, and we got focused on getting a stop,” Gaylor said. “I had all of my seniors in the huddle making sure everybody was focused on getting the stop defensively, and we went out there and played good defense.”


Sherwood had to settle for a fade-away 3-point attempt, and the shot wasn’t close, and that was that.

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