The High Point Grizzlies closed the third period on a 16-4 run and got 29 points from Jayden Byrd to defeat the Great Falls Red Devils 76-68 Saturday in the 1A Upper State boys’ basketball championship in Greenville. Great Falls finished the season at 20-5.
The Red Devils made a strong push in the final eight minutes and cut the Grizzlies’ lead to 72-66 after a 3 from DJ Adams with 51. seconds left, one of his three from long range in the period.
After a timeout, Adams got a steal and had a good look at a 3 that would have made it a one-possession game, but the shot was long and Great Falls was forced to foul the rest of the way. Adams had 11 of his 13 in the fourth, but Bell had nine of his 13 in the fourth as well, to offset Adams’ scoring.
There were six lead changes in the second period, all back-to-back. High Point Academy, which was founded in 2014, led 31-29 at the half.
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High Point’s lead was only 39-36 after Sincere Wilmore hit his third three-pointer of the game for the Red Devils halfway through the third period. Byrd then hit two of his four threes in a quick 8-1 spurt and Great Falls called timeout down 47-37 with 2:21 left in the period. After the timeout, Kelton Talford converted a three-point play with 1:30 left, but the Grizzlies scored the last seven points of the period to get their biggest lead of 55-40. Byrd scored 10 in the period.
Talford could not be stopped when he got the ball close to the basket. The problem was getting him enough touches. He still led the Red Devils with 22 points. Talford is a junior, as are most of the key Red Devils.
“It’s easy once he touches it,” Great Falls Coach Jimmy Duncan said. “It’s hard to get it to him. We tried to force it in there as much as we could without having too many more turnovers. He was all over the place. He probably had 17 or 18 rebounds.”
Turnovers were a problem for Great Falls. The High Point press was tough early in the game as they jumped out to 6-0 and 14-7 leads.
“We hurt ourselves with all the turnovers,” Duncan said. “Things we don’t normally do. It’s a different environment and pressure builds quick for 16 and 17-year-old kids.”
Byrd led all scorers with 29, but Reginald Bell and Tyrik Hoyte each had 13 for High Point. Talford had 22 for Great Falls and Wilmore had 15. “Sincere played some great minutes for us,” Duncan said. “He was feeling good.”
High Point 76, Great Falls 68
Individual scoring: GF - Kelton Talford 22; RonJ Stevenson 10; Sincere Wilmore 15; DJ Adams 13; Kell Brown 4; KJ Abrams 2; Zy’Derrick Jordan 2. HP - Jayden Byrd 29; Reginald Bell 13; Isayah Owens 6; Tyrik Hoyte 13; Jaylin Copeland 7; London Porter 8. Three-pointers: GF 8 (Wilmore 5, Adams 3). HP 7 (Byrd 4, Copeland 2, Owens). Team fouls: GF 20. HP 14. Records - Great Falls: 20-5. High Point: 23-6.
Chester can’t build on strong first half in Upper State loss to Keenan
The Chester Cyclones led throughout most of the first half but finally succumbed to the Keenan Raiders 70-55 Saturday in the 3A Upper State Championship in Greenville. Chester led 19-14 after one period and still led 30-25 before Keenan scored the last seven points of the half to lead by two. The start of the second half would be key and the Raiders opened it with another seven points to make it 39-30. It was pretty much playing catch-up from there for Chester as the lead got as big as 21.
Asanti Jones led all scorers with 21 and Dillon Jones had 16. Jordan Coleman led Chester with 12 Dorrien Bagley had 11. The Cyclones finished 12-11.
“I thought we came out with the perfect game plan,” Chester coach Sebastian Hopkins said. “We executed well. In the second half, we could have had more poise. But I take my hat off to the seniors for their leadership.”
Keenan 70 Chester 55
Individual scoring: CH - Jordan Coleman 12; Jaylin McClurkin 3; Dorrien Bagley 10; Juwan Hall 4; Quay Carter 2; Pha’Leak Brown 5; Raquawn Bailey 2; Leon Goldsborough 10; Keith Mobley 5. KHS: Asanti Jones 21; Dillon Jones 16; Javaris Da’Sant 4; Q’Dardruis Sanders 10; Latrell Taylor 7; Raekwon Horton 10. Three-pointers: CH 1 (Coleman). KHS 5 (Asanti Jones). Records - Chester 12-11. Keenan 29-1.