By MATTHEW BROWN
Journal Sports Writer
It was a night of firsts for Middle Georgia Technical College basketball, which hosted the 2012-13 home opening men’s and women’s doubleheader on campus Tuesday.
Being the first home games ever in the “G Extension” building, there were numerous historic landmarks set: first shot by a Titan, first basket scored, first slam dunk, first shot clock violation.
And of course, the first wins on the brand-new surface.
Bobby Brown and his men’s crew didn’t waste time in providing the first thrilling finish, either. Javarious Montgomery’s basket off a steal with 16 seconds to go resulted in a three-point play and the game-winner for Middle Georgia Tech 65-63 against Brewton-Parker JV.
The play gave Montgomery 15 points. Richard Yancey barely edged him for the team-high total with 16. Back-up center Dwayne Byrant scored 14 points in what was, for the most part, an atrocious shooting game for the Titans (32 percent from the floor and just over 50 percent – 16-for-30 – at the foul line.
But it was defensive plays like the one from Montgomery that kept Middle Georgia Tech in contention. Montgomery even had a steal when the visiting Barons JV looked for a winning shot in the waning seconds. He made a thunderous dunk out of the turnover, but it did not count.
Bryant led the home team with 13 rebounds.
Each team registered eight field goals in the first half. By making seven foul tosses in the final 1:36 to only two for MGTC, Brewton-Parker JV snuck ahead by one, 29-28, at the half.
The Titans did not score on their first six second-half possessions, but the Barons weren’t much better with only one basket made in six tries.
That took care of four minutes of action, and then Jeffery Gulley’s steal became a slam dunk of a second shot. What Brown didn’t want to see at this time, however, was basket trading. At least his Titans were scoring, Yancey nailing a corner 3-pointer and D’Meco Rozier’s wrap-around assist giving Bryant two inside.
Bryant, though, missed an open lay-in from Montgomery’s penetration, and Brewton-Parker JV stretched out its biggest lead, 47-41.
Montgomery scored three baskets in a row, but it was in basket-trading mode and therefore still a six-point deficit at 53-47. Out of a Titans’ time-out, and the score 53-50, Bryant did his slamming from a steal at the 6:14 mark. Bryant’s put-back, more than a minute later, gave MGTC the lead one more time at 54-53.
Overall, it was an 11-0 run. But Brewton-Parker managed to pull even at 58-all with 3:27 remaining. The Titans missed their chances to score off turnovers, and at 1:12 it looked bad when a Baron drove past the defense for an open score.
Yancey gave his team an edge of 62-61 from 3-point land at :50, but the Barons answered at :37 to go. There was a Titan turnover 12 seconds later, and the shot clock was no longer a factor. So Montgomery’s heroics were certainly needed.
Middle Georgia Tech led by as many as seven in the early going even with a cold shooting start. But baskets started falling from long range. Yancey hit a 3 and made three steals while Gulley slammed home a rebound with one hand.
At 12:16 of the first half, Brewton-Parker JV completed a 4-0 run, and Brown called for full-court pressure while also bringing Bryant off the pine. There were two press takeaways and two stickbacks from Bryant, and the advantage went to 19-13 as Gulley stole the ball in transition with a feed to Rozier.
Gulley favored his wrapped -up elbow after missing a dunk. As he sat out, the Titans missed numerous inside looks but made up for them with pure defensive plays. Rozier even took a shot inside that rolled seconds on the rim but fell the wrong way.
At 4:13, the Barons were within three at 23-20. Martavius Walker, at 6-8, saw some action and blocked two shots. Gulley also returned and denied a dunk. Jonathan Morine sunk an open trey at 1:36, but it was his team’s final make.
Among the Brewton-Parker JV foul shots was a three-point play converted at 8.8 seconds giving the visitors that halftime edge.
Perry High’s Ashley West had a team-high 19 points with 70 percent foul shooting Tuesday. The Middle Georgia Tech women shot out to a 14-0 lead on the Brewton-Parker JV and held on to win 60-48 despite being out-pointed in the second half.
West also had three assists. Kameelah Wynn was quite active in her reserve role up front with 10 points.
Warner Robins High’s Keiona Black is also a starting Lady Titan for coach Lawanda Brown. In the 14-0 run, as a point guard she had three steals, one assist and a penetration that resulted in two. West capitalized from these passes with four points and threw an assist to Tynisah Walton from post to post.
“This is what we worked towards,” said Brown about getting the first home win. “This shows that we are as capable of winning as anyone we play, whether it’s Division I, Division II or Division III (MGTC is Division III in the NJCAA).”
When Wynn entered the game halfway through the half, she paced the Lady Titans to as much as a 24-point lead. She made a steal, dribbled, stopped and shot through the net and grabbed two offensive boards to get to the line. The Brewton-Parker JV didn’t hit a field goal until 8:57.
West was creating chances for Shanequa Hudson score score on the glass and screened Wynn’s push to the rim. These two were grabbing more offensive boards, and with two blocks from Hudson Black hit a long 2 for 34-10. West’s three-point play concluded the half at 37-15.
The Lady Barons didn’t let up on aggressiveness for the second half, drawing several fouls and scoring off a turnover. By attacking the basket twice, the visitors countered their own turnovers and benefitted from the first shot-clock violation against MGTC at 14:02.
Being in the bonus at 11:38, Brewton-Parker JV used more attacking and takeaways in a 10-0 run for 48-35 at 8:08. Hudson broke the string, and Kenisha Seay sank a long 2 (52-35). It was back down to 11, 53-42, with four minutes left, but the visitors missed scoring chances over the next 40 seconds.
Walton crashed the boards from her own foul line miss, and West went end to end for a sealing score at 1:37.