Andre Banton scored 21 points and Doral Moore added 15 and six blocks as the Luella Lions held on for a 75-73 home win against Campbell at home Saturday in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
TeMarcus Blanton had 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for Luella, which will host Newnan on Tuesday.
After extending their lead to as much as 12 in the fourth quarter, the Lions saw their advantage shrink to just one point (70-69) with 1:50 left due to an inability to advance the ball past the Spartans’ full-court trap.
"We had way too many turnovers," Luella basketball coach Jamond Sims said. "We had 10 turnovers in the first half and probably more than 10 in the second half. We keep trying to stress to the kids that you're athletic but good teams towards the end, they cut down their turnovers and manage the clock. We were fortunate to get away with a win."
But Blanton split a pair of free throws less than a minute later to slightly rebuild the margin. Then after a turnover by Mike Olmert (12 points), Banton converted that miscue into a pair of free throws for a 73-69 score with 48 seconds left.
Six seconds later, Laz Walker halved Campbell’s deficit with a pair of foul shots and the Spartans appeared to receive a gift.
On the ensuing inbounds’ pass, the ball went off the hands of Adonis Green and out of bounds with 41 seconds remaining. But Blanton would steal the Spartans’ inbounds pass and Kylin Terrell would net two foul shots with 27 seconds.
After Campbell’s Olmert sank two free throws for a 75-73 score, the unthinkable happened for Luella fans when the Lions turned the ball over with 4.3 seconds.
But following a Lions’ timeout, Olmert surprisingly dribbled out the clock and Campbell failed to attempt a tying or winning shot.
"We're glad that we got out with a win but I'm looking forward to the very next practice because I guarantee it will be a lot more intense and they will have more focus because now the pressure is off after our first playoff win," Sims said.
Randy McClure led the Spartans with 16 points and Laz Walker added 14.
"That campbell team, even though they have a couple of young guys, they are really well coached and a disciplined team," Sims said.