Second-half surge lifts Garrett

Garrett Tech’s boys basketball team stayed very much alive in the race for the Region 6-AA title with a come-from-behind 67-62 win over visiting Whale Branch on Friday night.

The Falcons trailed by as many as eight in the first half but rallied over the final two quarters to improve to 11-6 overall and 6-1 in region play.

The Falcons have won nine of their last 10 games with the lone loss coming to Battery Creek, who also is 6-1 in region play. The two teams meet next Friday night in a game that could decide the region championship.

Senior forward Kenny Frost led the way with 21 points for the Falcons. Tyquan Williams added 13 points and Jascere Stokes chipped in 12 in Garrett Tech’s balanced effort.

“We put ourselves in a position where we have the opportunity to control our own destiny,” said Garrett Tech head coach Brandon Smalls. “That’s why this win was so big for us tonight. We still have to take care of business against North Charleston on Tuesday before Friday’s game means anything.”

The visiting Warriors (12-9, 4-3) grabbed control of a back-and-forth first quarter, opening up a 23-16 lead with 40 seconds left in the opening period.

Garrett Tech was able to keep it close before Whale Branch grabbed a 38-30 lead with 1:20 to play in the second. A three-point play by Frost with 11 seconds remaining trimmed the halftime margin to five.

“We definitely prepared for this type of game all week long in practice,” said Smalls. “We knew going in that we would have to battle until the end, and we knew Whale Branch would bring their best at us.

“We were down five, but we knew we missed free throws and layups. I just told the guys to go out and turn it around and be a little more consistent with what we were doing.”

Garrett Tech played with more consistency in the third quarter, grabbing its first lead since early in the game on a steal and layup by Frost with 1:12 left, giving the Falcons a 53-52 lead.

“Frost is our motor,” said Smalls. “He does whatever we need him to do. He plays hard every minute and he’s a spark. When you play the way we play, every night could be someone different and tonight it was his night.”

The fourth quarter began with the scored tied at 55 but Garrett Tech clamped down defensively, limiting the Warriors to seven points. Williams hit a 3-pointer to give Garrett Tech a 60-57 lead, and followed five seconds later with a steal and layup for a five-point advantage. Whale Branch would get no closer than four points and did not score over the last 2:52 of the game.

Whale Branch (62): Brown 4, Jovell Coakley 14, Lamb 7, Miller 9, Middleton 9, Fair 4, Marlon Williams 14, Prakey 1.

Garrett (67): Scotton 8, Scott 6, Tyquan Williams 13, Kenneth Frost 21, Jones 7, Jascere Stokes 12.

Whale Branch 23 15 17 7—62

Garrett 19 14 22 12—67

Records: Garrett 11-6 (6-1). Whale Branch (4-3). Next: Whale Branch hosts Bishop England Tuesday. Garrett at North Charleston Tuesday.