The Wilkinson County boys have won so many state championships that they understand how momentum can come and go during a game.
On Wednesday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum, No. 3-ranked Wilkinson County withstood a strong second-quarter punch from No. 1 Calhoun County and responded with a third-quarter knockout. The result was a 66-53 victory in the Class A Public championship game.
The victory gives coach Aaron Geter Jr. his ninth state title, second only to Selby Buck of Lanier, who won 13 from 1925-1951. The Warriors have won four of the last five championships since Class A split into public and private divisions.
Geter said he would return next season, pending approval of the school board. Then he was
“I’m just excited for these kids,” Geter said. “They’ve worked hard all year, they’ve come through a lot of adversity. At the end of the day they figured out a way to get it done.”
Wilkinson erased a five-point halftime deficit by scoring the first eight points of the third quarter to take a 37-34 lead with 4:48 left. Wilkinson continued to press its advantage and led 49-40 – its largest lead of the game -- at the end of three quarters.
Calhoun County twice got to within a point, the last time at 51-50. A 3-pointer by Larry Jones got the Warriors pushed in the right direction and Calhoun never recovered.
“Our kids have been around a lot of basketball. There’s going to be spurts in a game,” Geter said. “I’ts a matter of who has the most spurts and our kids withstood that and got us a win.”
Wilkinson County (25-7) got 15 points and 12 rebounds from Clarence Jackson and 15 points and 10 rebounds from Tylan Grable. Larry Jones added 11 and Derrick Wilcher had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Calhoun County (28-2) was led by Rashun Williams with 25 points and eight rebounds. Roney Moore and Juwaun Wiley each scored 10.
Wilkinson County appeared ready to blow the game open in the first quarter. A 12-2 run, sparked by Clarence Jackson’s three-point play gave the Warriors a 16-8 lead.
That was about the time Williams started to get cranked up. He scored the first three baskets of the second period, the last one a rim-shaking slam dunk that got the crowd fired up. The Cougars continue to roll and tied the game at 25-25 on Juwan Wiley’s 3-pointer at 3:22 left in the half.
Calhoun County outscored Wilkinson 7-2 in the stretch run and led 34-29 at halftime.
Wilkinson County (66): Aaron Geter III 7, Tylan Grable 15, Larry Jones 11, Clarence Jackson 15, Jadaveon Jones 8, Derrick Wilcher 10.
Calhoun County (53): Roney Moore 10, Rashun Williams 25, Kadarrius Holmes 5, Edwin Wims 2, Juwaun Wiley 10, Lamartrie Robinson 1.