Four days after a crushing 53-52 double overtime loss to Mount de Sales in Macon, the Crusaders defended their home court Tuesday night, rallying from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Furtah Prep Falcons 77-75 in overtime in GISA Region 4-AA action.
It was the region opener for Griffin Christian, which improves to 5-4 overall and 1-0 in region play while Furtah drops to 5-3, 0-1.
Griffin Christian seemed to be a step slow against Furtah, which may have been the result of a rough stretch of games. The Crusaders played four games last week (three on the road), starting last Monday with an easy road win against Solid Rock and ending with a tough home loss to Dominion Christian last Saturday.
Furtah took advantage of the Crusaders’ tired legs, racing out to leads of 14-11 after the first quarter and 33-31 at the half. Whenever the Crusaders made any headway in the game, the Falcons were one step better and kept the advantage.
A 3-point play and a layup by GC guard Wil Savage got the Crusaders within 3 points at 39-36 at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter, but that was as close as they would get in that period. Furtah went on a 20-11 run, including a running jumper by Furtah’s point guard W. Witherspoon to give the Falcons the 59-47 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Falcons lead ballooned to 62-47 with 7:00 remaining in the fourth quarter and that’s when the Crusaders made their comeback. Senior forward Hunter Ott led the GC charge scoring four straight points to spark the team and also baskets by Jonathan Hammond and Aaron McCray got them within 7 at 62-55. Late in the fourth with Furtah up 65-59, McCray and Savage both hit huge 3-pointers to tie the game at 65 and change the momentum in GC’s favor.
Witherspoon stopped the bleeding for Furtah with a jumper to give the Falcons a 67-65 lead but McCray came back and banked in a long jumper to tie the game at 67-all with 2:31 remaining. The two teams traded baskets and the score was tied at 69 with 1:00 remaining. Furtah ran the clock down and Witherspoon missed a shot at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
It was all GC in the four-minute overtime period. A free throw by McCray and a layup from Savage gave GC the 72-69 lead. Furtah sank a free throw to make the score 72-70 but that was as close as Furtah would get. Hammond sank two free throws and Savage had a steal and layup to give GC its biggest lead of the period at 76-70, sealing the game. The Falcons mustered a late-period layup and a trey sandwiched around a final Savage free throw for the final 77-75 margin.
Savage led all scorers with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, followed by Hammond with 19 points and 7 assists, McCray with 16 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds and Taylor Dunn had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Witherspoon led Furtah with 20 points.