Published Wednesday, February 06, 2013
By DOUG GORMAN
Newnan guard Doniel Dean has hit some big shots during his three-year career with the Cougars.
Tuesday’s night’s game-winner in double overtime against Langston Hughes had to top them all.
Trailing 61-60 with 4 seconds remaining, the Cougars emerged from a timeout and executed to perfection.
After getting the ball to Dean off the inbounds, the junior delivered by swishing his final shot to give Newnan a clutch 62-61 Region 3-AAAAAA victory that could have been lost earlier at the foul line.
The Cougars hit just 16 of 32 shots from the free-throw line to help Langston Hughes within range in what was a battle for the No. 3 seed in 3-AAAAAA.
The win kept Newnan within one game at 4-5 while the Panthers fell to 5-4. With a win over East Coweta (1-8) on Friday, the Cougars have a chance to finish tied with Hughes, which ends the regular season against first-place Westlake.
On Tuesday, Dean executed when needed with the play of the night.
“It was an isolation play to him,” said Newnan head coach Rod Ladd, whose team snapped a two-game losing streak in the region. “I called two plays for him during the timeout, and they were in man so we were able to get a little motion around the base line and isolate on him and it worked.”
Three players finished in double figures for the Cougars (14-9) with Dean leading the way with 20 points. Kaceon Person added 14 and Darrell Morrow chipped in 13.
Tyrell Sellman finished with 19 points and Monte Atkinson 15 for the Panthers.
(To view photos from these games, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)
Newnan appeared to have the game put away going into the fourth quarter, but after taking a 41-30 lead into the final period, the Cougars’ offense went to sleep.
The Cougars were outscored by Langston Hughes 15-4 in the fourth period to send the contest into the first of the two overtimes tied at 45.
Langston Hughes kept Newnan from making a shot from the field in the fourth quarter as the Cougars only points came with a 4 for 9 free throw performance.
The two teams were tied at 52 at the end of the first overtime. After taking turns exchanging the lead in the second extra period, the stage was set for the dramatic finish.
Kainan Hill gave the Panthers (10-12) their last lead of the game at 61-60 with 14.5 seconds left when he was fouled under his own basket and calmly sank two free throws.
Unlike Newnan, Langston Hughes had plenty of success at the free throw line, hitting 23 of 35 attempts.
Hill’s free throw gave the Panthers just their second lead of the double overtime period but it wasn’t enough as the Cougars came down and set up the game-winning shot on the their next trip down the floor.
The victory could give Newnan —which had lost four of its last five games heading into Tuesday — momentum going into the final game of the season and the Region 3-AAAAAA tournament, which will also be played at East Coweta.
“We have to do a better job of executing,” he said. “That includes hitting free throws.”
The stage was set for a close game early in the first quarter as the Cougars built an 11-10 lead behind 3-pointers by Person, Dean and Morrow. Morrow’s trey behind half court at as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter gave the Cougars the first-quarter lead.
The Cougars extended the lead to 26-19 at the half.
A dunk by Immanuel Griggs trimmed the Langston Hughes lead to 17-16 and the Cougars outscored the Panthers 10-2 to build their halftime lead.
Newnan attempted to put the game out of reach in the third quarter pushing the lead to double digits.
Morrow’s 3-point shot in the third quarter helped the Cougars push the lead to double digits for the first time at 35-25.
The victory sets up the regular-finale against rival East Coweta. Newnan won the first game of the year between the two teams 67-58.
In other Region 3-AAAAAA boys action, Douglas County beat East Coweta 100-75 on the road in Douglasville.
The Tigers improved to 14-10 overall and 6-3. The Indians dropped to 4-19 and 1-8 heading into Friday’s home with Newnan.
GIRLS – Langston Hughes 74, Newnan 42: The Lady Panthers led from start to finish to spoil Senior Night for the Lady Cougars while also recording the team’s 20th victory of the year.
Region-leader Langston Hughes remained unbeaten at 9-0 in 3-AAAAAA while Newnan dropped to 2-20 overall and 2-6 in region play.
The Lady Panthers used two 3-point shots from Sitaraiya Nelloms in the first quarter to take a 16-9 lead.
It was the only time Newnan didn’t trail by double figures at the end of the quarter.
Langston Hughes was paced by Nelloms with 14 points. Kayla McCray added 11, Newnan was led by Tiara Calloway’s 12 points. LaKil Derring added 9 for the Lady Cougars, hitting two 3-pointers in the final home game of her career.
Langston Hughes pulled away in the second quarter pushing its lead to 40-19. The Lady Panthers extended their lead to 56-30 after the third quarter, but it was the Lady Cougars’ most productive eight minutes as Calloway scored twice off the glass and Derring had one of her 3-pointers.
Newnan closes out the regular season with rival East Coweta on Friday at John Thrower Gym. The two teams expect to meet in next week’s opening round of the 3-AAAAAA tournament, also hosted by East Coweta, for the right to advance to the GHSA state tournament.