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ATLANTA – When the South Atlanta Hornets hosted Hapeville Charter in November, they needed overtime to notch their first region win of the season. During the rematch, South Atlanta only needed the opening quarter to continue its domination in region competition.
Dictated by their suffocating defense, the South Atlanta Hornets held Hapeville to one field goal in the first half on the way to a 58-28 victory at Atlanta Metropolitan State College on January 8.
Effective on both ends of the floor, senior Demetrius Headspeth had 12 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and three steals, and junior reserve Tyrese Thomas also scored 12 to go along with four steals.
Senior Gary Davis finished with 10 points and four steals, and junior Ja’Quavian Florence (four steals, two blocks) and freshman John Lawton both scored eight points. Sophomore Julius Lymons blocked six shots for the 12-4 Hornets.
“[Gary] is the key for us,” South Atlanta coach Michael Reddick said. “We can go as far as he can take us. He’s not the top scorer but he does everything well. He can shoot, pass, handle. We count on him. He fills any hole that we need and he was aggressive tonight and that was what we needed from him.”
“Our big men stepped up big tonight,” Davis said. “They got rebounds, closed out and we had to help them too by keeping our man in front of us.”
Outside of a two-point loss to Therrell and 76-71 OT win against Hapeville Charter, South Atlanta has been tearing through its Region 6-AA opponents. Following three straight losses to out-of-state competition to end 2018, South Atlanta added Hapeville to this list.
“The guys had something to prove,” Reddick said. “We went out of town and didn’t play too well but practices went really well this week. We were working on the defense a lot and I think it showed up a little bit.”
After Miles Carter (six points) tied the score with two free throws, Lawton nailed a 3-pointer to ignite a 17-0 run to end the first quarter. Headspeth scored two baskets to start the second and Davis converted his second dunk of the game, stretching the surge to 23 consecutive points.
South Atlanta’s perimeter defense and interior defense continued to give Hapeville Charter problems the rest of the frame but Zavier Carter scored the Hornets’ first field goal on a putback with 15 seconds left in the half.
“Some of it was us and some of it was just them missing good shots but our defense is all we worked on the last four practices,” Reddick said. “Hopefully, its ready to take us forward and we can continue playing defense that way.”
After the break, Davin Quinones (nine points, three steals) gave Hapeville’s offense some life but Thomas went to work in the post for South Atlanta, scoring 10 points in the frame to help keep the margin very wide.
“[Tyrese] just came back from an injury and is showing folks what he can do,” Davis said.