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SUWANEE (GA) – Nick Edwards made sure Grayson didn’t overcome its huge deficit just to still lose.
After receiving the inbounds pass with five seconds left, Edwards made his way to the lane and acrobatically finished a layup for the Rams’ first lead of the game and ultimately a 65-64 victory over Langston Hughes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Peachtree Ridge High during the Blue Collar Basketball MLK Showcase.
“That is just paying attention to detail, doing what the coaches ask you to do,” Grayson coach Geoffrey Pierce said. “Nobody had any questions what their role was in that play. They did what they were asked to do and we were able to get a good shot.”
Before Edwards finished with a team-high 24 points in the rally from a 20-point deficit, Langston senior Landers Nolley, who had a chance to play in front of his future coach Buzz Williams at Virginia Tech, provided an epic performance. The 6-7 shooting guard scored 35 points, including four 3-pointers, and 15 rebounds. He did majority of his damage in the first quarter (12 points) and third period (14).
“Landers was cooking but I’m just proud of their effort–they didn’t quit,” Pierce said.
But in the final eight minutes, Nolley scored just one field goal and the Panthers notched just six points, allowing Grayson to close the gap.
“We just made sure we were doubling [Nolley] when he put in on the floor in the fourth, trying to get out of his hands and it worked in our favor,” Pierce said.
Trailing by 13 early in the fourth, the Rams turned up their ball pressure and extended it as well, leading to six steals in the frame and easier finishes at the rim. With 1:42 left, Edwards converted a layup while being fouled and tied the score at 62 on the ensuing foul shot.
A short jumper by Nolley put Langston back in front but Deivon Smith (10 points) cut the margin in half with 38 seconds left. After a turnover by Tyrel Morgan (10 points), the stage was set for Grayson to seal the epic comeback and Edwards delivered with a difficult layup he is probably accustomed to converting.
“I was proud of Nick’s game,” Pierce said. “He played very well.”
The Panthers did have one second left but Nolley’s heave was too late and off the mark.