Prep Basketball: Cougars answer call in OT again, beat Indians

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Newnan’s Doniel Dean blocks a shot attempt by East Coweta’s O’Darius Kendall during Friday’s Region 3-AAAAAA game at John Thrower Gym.

By DOUG GORMAN
dgorman@newnan.com
Newnan head basketball coach Rod Ladd predicted Friday night’s game between his Cougars and rival East Coweta was going to be a dogfight.
He was right.
With a standing room only crowd packed inside John Thrower Gymnasium, it took an overtime wake-up call by the visiting Cougars to knock off the Indians 66-57 in the regular-season finale for both teams.
“It’s Newnan and East Coweta, so we knew both teams would come to play,” Ladd said. “We finally responded in overtime.”
The two teams went into the extra four-minute period tied at 57, but Newnan took over in the extra period, holding the Indians off the scoreboard.
With the win, Newnan goes into the tournament at 15-9 overall and 5-5 in Region 3-AAAAAA to finish tied for third with Langston Hughes (10-13, 5-5). The Indians fell to 4-18 and 2-8 and will face whichever team earns the region tiebreaker for third place.
Newnan completes the sweep of East Coweta. In the first meeting between the two teams, the Cougars won 67-58.
Three players finished in double figures for Newnan led by Doniel Dean’s 23. Immanuel Griggs tossed in 16 and Kaceon Person added 11.

O’Darius Kendall led East Coweta with 16 points and Zhakeer Jervey had 12.
(To view photos from this game, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)

For the Indians it might just go down as the game that got away.

East Coweta appeared to take command of the game when Kendall hit a 3-pointer to go up 57-54 with two minutes left. But Newnan scored the last three points of the regulation to set up the overtime at 57-all.

A turnover by the Indians with under 10 seconds left gave the Cougars a chance to win the game in regulation.

Newnan set the play for Dean and he delivered what appeared to be the game-winning shot after driving the lane and putting the ball off the glass. However, the potential game winner was wiped off the scoreboard for a travel, forcing overtime.

Person started the Cougars overtime explosion with two quick baskets to help Newnan take control.

Newnan led 12-11 at the end of a sloppy, turnover-filled first quarter, but the tone was set.

The loss spoiled a a solid night of long-range shooting for the Indians, who hit eight 3-pointers. Three of the treys came in the second quarter as Jervey, Rodney Craig and Kendall each hit long-range shots to force a 27-all tie at the end of the first half.

The Indians hit three 3-point shots in the third quarter with Kendall hitting a pair of treys.

Newnan didn’t let East Coweta’s hot shooting from the outside keep it from taking a 42-40 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Person hit his own trey in the third period, but Dean’s ability to get to the line and convert free throws made the difference down the stretch. Dean hit 10 of 11 free throws in the final two quarters.

Newnan should be used to overtimes heading into the first round of the next week’s Region 3-AAAAAA tournament.

Three of the Cougars last four contest have been settled in overtime.

Newnan lost to Douglas County 79-73, but defeated Langston Hughes 62-61 in double overtime Tuesday night, helping set up Friday’s showdown with East Coweta.

“It’s the tournament, we know what is at stake,” Ladd said. We lose we go home, if we win we go to state.”



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