Maurice Dixon

@WriturRece |

TUCKER (GA) – In position to cruise to a comfortable win, Towers almost became too comfortable against Stockbridge but managed to hold on for a 61-57 victory at the Holiday Shootout Classic at Tucker High on December 28.

David Manigo led the Titans (7-3) with game highs of 17 points and 16 rebounds. The 6-5 senior had 11 rebounds in the first half.

“He led DeKalb County in rebounding last year,” Towers coach Hasan Vanegas said. “He gets double-doubles quite often. He is a real good rebounder for an undersized center. He hits the boards hard.”

Jakeem Faulkner, who seemed to never rush a shot or force an attempt, contributed to the point total with 16, and Quevon Washington finished with 10.

“Jakeem’s a very good player all around and defensively,” Vanegas said. “He can shoot it, dribble it, pass it and finish strong.”

From the opposing lineup, point guard Davian Johnson scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and senior Terrynce Jackson, who grabbed eight rebounds despite being one of the shortest players on the floor, had 13 points off the bench.

After creating some separation from Stockbridge late in the third quarter, Towers opened the fourth with a 9-0 run for a 54-40 advantage – the largest by either team. But the Titans scored just two more field goals which allowed the Tigers (8-4) to reduce a double-digit deficit to a point in a minute and a half.

“At the end of the day, you just got to execute at the end of the game,” Vanegas said. “They kind of slowed it down on their own and that was partly my mistake. We should’ve just kept being aggressive at the end of the game so that made the game a little tighter. We got to do better next time.”

With 3:59 left, Johnson’s three-point play ignited this run, which was also highlighted on 3-pointers by Kavonte Ivery (10 points) and Johnson, and Ocean Scott’s putback.

Then from the 2:30 mark, Towers owned a 58-57 edge until Faulkner sank two free throws with 11 seconds remaining. On the other end, the Tigers failed to get a chance to tie the score since Johnson lost the ball and Manigo gained possession before adding a free throw to finalize the scoring.