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ATLANTA – Since Eddie Johnson has been calling the shots from the sideline for Therrell, the Panthers haven’t had any success at South Atlanta High.
Deandre Brown, who played more like a senior than a sophomore, helped change that on February 1 as Therrell outlasted the Hornets for a 75-71 road win and eighth straight victory.
“South Atlanta has always been our rival,” said Johnson, who is in his fourth year at Therrell. “This is the first time we’ve ever come to South Atlanta and won since I’ve been here. This game just pretty much punched our ticket to state and that is why we are so happy since we just clinched first place in the region.”
In a contest full of ties and lead changes but not one huge scoring run from either team, Brown (28 points) and Dondre Barnes (28) both kept the ball in contact with the net for Therrell and South Atlanta, respectively. Both guards showed the ability to score in the paint, behind and inside the 3-point line and from the foul line even though Barnes made 12 of his 14 attempts from the stripe compared to Brown’s 6-of-10 effort.
“Deandre is a man among boys,” Johnson said. “He started off a little rocky trying to figure out what is a good shot and what is a bad shot but he finally put it together. He has that killer instinct. When he puts his mind to it, he is one of the toughest guards in the state of Georgia. He has a nice jumpshot and now he is actually handling the ball 10 times better than he was last year as a freshman. The sky is the limit for that young man. I’m extremely proud of the way he played tonight.”
Senior Tyren Stevenson was also instrumental in bringing the Hornets’ eight-game winning streak to an end, collecting 18 points and nine rebounds while Roman Son added 11 points, five assists and three steals.
Nearly halfway through the fourth quarter with South Atlanta ahead 60-57, Brown nailed a 3-pointer from NBA range that shifted the momentum in Panthers’ favor and led to a 66-60 score after Stevenson’s layup.
From there the teams went back to trading baskets until Jalen Stegall (10 points) missed the game-tying 3-pointer and Brown sealed the regular-season sweep at the foul line.
“I’m extremely proud of my team,” Johnson said. “We are very, very young. They acted very mature out there. They kept their poise the entire time. The lead changed a couple of times but they never buckled. My hats off to South Atlanta. They played a great game but my boys just weathered the storm and did what they were supposed to do.”