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DULUTH (GA) – The Hapeville Charter Hornets knew the clock wasn’t on their side and Burke County made sure a comeback was not going to be easy or possible in this encounter.
Despite being the shortest player on the court, junior Miles Carter scored a game-high 22 points in the Hornets’ 55-49 loss to Burke County in the Big Hoops Shootout at Duluth High on December 29.
Bobby Little led the Bears with 21 points and played a huge role in Burke County regaining control of the contest in the third quarter. After Carter made a couple of baskets to put the Hornets ahead 35-30, Little scored nine consecutive points (three layups and a 3-pointer) and Dexter Jones (nine points) added a 3-pointer and layin to cap the 14-0 run.
“Bobby is going to be a really good player for us,” Burke County coach Purvis Dukes said. “He is coming into his own. He is our second leading scorer and our second-leading assist guy. He has a great basketball IQ. He has been really playing well and that was big for us down the stretch.”
Jahleel Roundtree (nine points) had something to say on the defensive end during this game-changing run as well by recording two of his three blocked shots.
“Jahleel played well and protected the rim,” Dukes said. “He made some big shots for us and got some big rebounds for us.”
For nearly the first half of the final period, Hapeville was forced to play defense without the reward of a bad pass, steal or 5-second violation since Burke County flawlessly executed its offensive set despite not scoring a basket.
“What we figured out was that we were in the bonus and if we get them to foul us we were going to shoot foul shots,” Dukes said. “In high school basketball in Georgia right now there is no shot clock so if you can turn your stuff over and make the other team have to work–use up fouls and energy then it makes it tougher for them on the offensive end.”
But with 1:19 left to play, Henry Love Jr. (seven points) sank a free throw to move the Hornets within 45-43. However on the ensuing possession, Tyreek Brihm (eight points) responded with a three-point play to restore the Bears’ lead to five.
From there, the Hornets moved within a possession of tying on two occasions but Burke County handled its business at the stripe to seal the win.
“They are a forceful team, aggressive and scrappy,” Hapeville Charter coach Keydrick Barlow said. “They played hard from beginning to end on both sides of the floor. We hadn’t run up against a team all year that was relentless about imposing what they wanted to do.
“We came out a little slow then got it switched around and had a chance to kind of run away with the game but we had seven straight possessions without a basket even after we had gotten stops,” Barlow said. “A four-point third quarter is always going to make a difference.”
Davin Quinones collected 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Charles Osby-Brown and Jeremy Stephens both had four steals.