By Jeffery Armstrong
The Henry County Warhawks ended their terrific regular season with a 79-66 victory over their county and Region 2-AAAAA rivals, the Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles, Saturday night at Henry County High.
With the win, the Warhawks finish with a record of 21-4, 14-4 in region play, and clinch the second seed in this week's Region 2-AAAAA Tournament at Houston County High.
Emmanuel Wimbush led the Warhawks with 19 points and he was one of three Henry seniors to score in double figures Saturday.
The game was pretty close through the first three quarters, as Eagle's Landing played the Warhawks tough. The Eagles managed to stifle the two hottest Warhawks, Carvelle Taylor and Cornelius Edwards, to remain close. The lead went back and forth in the first half and Henry took a 39-34 halftime lead, thanks to great play from Wimbush and Greg Lindsey.
The third quarter was a quarter of runs. Henry took a 47-39 lead with 6:20 to go, but the Eagles went on a 4-0 run to get the score at 47-43.
Henry then went on a 4-0 run itself to get the lead back to eight at 51-43. A 3-pointer by Eagle's Landing's Kevin Smith capped a 5-0 run to make the score 51-48, but Henry again went on a 4-0 run to lead 55-48 heading into the fourth quarter.
Edwards took over for Henry in the final stanza. The senior center bruised his way to inside baskets as Eagle's Landing had no one his size to counter him. Eagles starting center Marvin Brown didn't play because he received two technical fouls Friday night against Stockbridge and was ejected. Any player receiving two techs has to sit out two games.
Edwards scored seven straight points to give Henry its biggest lead, 68-55, at the 4:30 mark of regulation play and the Warhawks cruised to the victory.
Lindsey and Taylor scored 16 points for Henry and Edwards added 15. Smith led Eagle's Landing with 19 points, including 3-of-5 on 3-point shots.
Devin Johnson added 14 points off the bench and Adam Fine and Luke Murton chipped in 10 points apiece.
Eagle's Landing, who improved to seven wins this year, will be the first county team to play in the region tourney this week.
The Golden Eagles will start tourney action in a play-in game on Tuesday, Feb. 10 against the Westside-Macon Seminoles at 8:30 p.m. Should the Eagles win, they will see these same Warhawks Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the first round. First-round winners will clinch state playoff berths.
"Now it's a one-game season for us," said Warhawks head coach Clint Satterfield.
Eagle's Landing 35, Henry County 32 (girls): The Eagle's Landing Lady Golden Eagles had nine players score at least one basket and the team made 16 free throws to outlast the Henry County Ladyhawks Saturday night.
The game was close after two and a half quarters. In fact, the game was tied at 23 in the third quarter, when Eagle's Landing's Shemieka Melvin put the Lady Eagles in the lead for good.
Melvin snagged a rebound, made the layup and was fouled. She completed the 3-point play for the 26-23 lead and the Lady Eagles led 29-25 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ladyhawks senior Keisha Varner (11 points) scored four straight points to bring Henry within two at 31-29 at the 6:15 mark of the fourth quarter. Ashlee Lee made a layup for Eagle's Landing to make the score 33-29, but Henry's Paige Jackson sank a free throw to trim the lead to 33-30 at the 2:00 mark.
Henry had a chance to tie the game, but Yetta Bailey's 3-pointer went in and out. Yolanda Evans (11 points) hit a jumper to cut the lead to 33-32 with 35 seconds remaining, but Tanisha Scott hit two clutch free throws for Eagle's Landing for the final margin.
Julia Paquette led Eagle's Landing with eight points and five blocks, all in the second half.
For the Region 2-AAAAA tourney, the Lady Eagles will face county foe Stockbridge Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. Henry County faces Warner Robins that same night at 7 p.m.