A remarkable turnaround for the Porter-Gaud girls’ basketball team continued on Sunday as the Cyclones came from behind to capture the championship of the Porter-Gaud Holiday Classic with a 45-40 win over Charlotte Country Day.
Porter-Gaud trailed by as many as nine points in the third quarter but held Charlotte Country Day to only nine points over the final 12 minutes of the game to win their own tournament for the first time.
Junior Lillian Saul’s layup with three minutes left in the game tied the game at 40, and freshman forward Garis Grant gave Porter-Gaud the lead at 42-40 with 1:33 remaining. Grant led Porter-Gaud with 14 points.
Sauls, who scored 10 points and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining in the game.
“A great win for our team, and I’m really proud of the way they played down the stretch,” said Porter-Gaud first-year coach Kent Martin. “We got down early in the third quarter, but this team never quit playing. We did a great job defensively in the second half and that gave us a chance.”
Charlotte Country Day senior guard Beth Erb led all scorers with 23 points but managed only seven points in the second half. Erb came into the game averaging 30 points per game.
“We did a much better job on her in the second half, but she is truly a great player,” said Martin.
Porter-Gaud improved to 10-2 with the victory, a far cry from the recent past when the program has struggled.
“This group works tremendously hard every day and they are starting to really believe they can win,” said Martin.
Porter-Gaud’s boys team won the championship with a 61-50 win over North Cross School of Virginia.
Junior KJ James scored 19 points and junior center Michael Preddy added 17 points and 12 rebounds for Porter-Gaud, who improved to 6-1. James was named the tournament’s MVP.
“We got off to a good start in the first quarter and that helped us relax while also putting some pressure on the other team,” said Cyclones coach John Pearson. “It provided us a good cushion, which became real important later in the game.”
The Cyclones jumped out to a 19-10 lead after one quarter and led, 31-20, at the half. Preddy scored 10 points and James added nine in the opening half.
Porter-Gaud appeared ready to run away with the game, opening a 42-25 advantage with 3:52 to play in the third quarter. North Cross, however, closed the half on a 10-2 run to trim the margin to nine at 44-35 entering the final period.
Keith Oddo’s second 3-pointer of the half pulled the Raiders to within seven at 45-38 with 6:30 left in the game. James answered with a 3 of his own a minute later for a 48-38 lead.
Jordan Lowery’s layup was followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Tayontae Calloway to cut the Cyclones’ lead to 50-46 with 3:15 remaining.
Preddy scored inside and James and Sterling Smalls combined for three free throws to push the lead back to seven at 53-46. The Cyclones were able to seal the win by making eight of 10 free throws in the final two minutes.
“We knew they were too good of a team to not make a run at us, and sure enough, they started hitting some shots,” said Pearson. “We did a good job late in the game, making some free throws and not turning it over against their pressure.”
Academic Magnet’s boys and girls teams each finished third in their respective brackets.
PORTER-GAUD 61, NORTH CROSS 50
Porter-Gaud (61): Sterling Smalls 10, Cochrane 4, Skelly 9, Byrd 3, K.J. James 19, Michael Preddy 17.
North Cross (50): Lawson 2, Oddo 8, Doughty 2, Caveness 2, Holley 9, Calloway 9, Lowery 2, Peter Agba 16.
Porter-Gaud 19 12 12 18—61
North Cross 10 10 15 15—50
ACADEMIC MAGNET 89, FIRST BAPTIST 76
First Baptist (76): Bocklet 9, Grambling 2, Shaquille Richardson 13, Keisler 4, Ancrum 8, Bradford Allen 33, Moring 7.
Academic Magnet (89): Brendon Frankel 25, Tyre Moore 13, Avery Nwokike 22, Ingle 4, Adam Ackerman 20, Sewell 3, Cunningham 2.
First Baptist 18 11 23 24—76
Academic Magnet 21 16 31 21—89
CHARLESTON COLLEGIATE 67,
BISHOP ENGLAND 56
Bishop England (56): Theos 5, Jacob Vecchiolla 15, Dillon Corbett 15, Greiman 2, Hebert 2, B.J. Grevey 17.
Charleston Collegiate (67): Khalil Davis 13, Je’Quan Perry 32, McClain 4, Knox 3, Ty Solomon 15.
Bishop England 10 20 12 14—56
Chas. Collegiate 15 17 22 13—67
CHARLOTTE COUNTRY DAY 40
Porter-Gaud (45): Lillian Saul 10, McAbee 3, Ham 4, Mason 8, Faith 6, Garis Grant 14.
Charlotte Country Day (40): Gakenheimer 2, Robinson 2, Loesch 2, Beth Erb 23, Pedlow 7, McFayden 4.
Porter-Gaud 13 9 7 16—45
Char. Country Day 9 16 10 5 —40
ACADEMIC MAGNET 49, ASHLEY HALL 34
Ashley Hall (34): Morrison 5, Simmons 2, Smith 4, Rossi Anastopoulo 14, Buxton 9.
Academic Magnet (49): Walls 8, Linhart 4, Cara Pugh 10, Leckonby 3, Schweickhardt 6, Zanin 6, Rodgers 2, Taylor 4, Waddell 5, Guzzardo 2.
Ashley Hall 7 8 11 8 — 34
Academic Magnet 19 7 12 11—49
FIRST BAPTIST 54, NORTH CROSS 26
North Cross (26): Lynsey Barker 15, Robinson 4, Revercomb 6, Schwenk 1.
First Baptist (54): Grant 8, Whaley 2, McKala Rhodes 15, Anderson 9, Hiott 2, Jenkins 4, Taylor 2, Kelly 4, Peters 8.
North Cross 9 7 5 5 — 26
First Baptist 10 6 13 25—54
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