By Brian Paglia
Stockbridge coach Duane Kelley was frustrated. The Tigers were overwhelmed by No. 7-ranked Henry County in the first minutes, unable to score and unable to defend.
When Warhawks point guard Zavier Rosser got to the free throw line on a coast-to-coast drive, Kelley finally had enough. Out went Stockbridge's starters. In came five new players.
"That's really what jump-started us," Kelley said. "They came out there with a little enthusiasm. Might not be the best players in the world, but they scrapped and they fought."
Stockbridge woke up and overcame a 12-point second quarter deficit to pull out an 81-70 upset win at Henry County in a Region 4-AAA game Tuesday night.
Stockbridge (5-2, 4-1) came out of halftime down 40-31, but encouraged. Despite their lackadaisical start, 13 turnovers and several defensive breakdowns, the Tigers had cut into Henry County's largest lead of the first half at 34-22 in the second quarter.
Marquez Hodo got the Tigers' comeback going, scoring all 10 of his points in the third quarter, and senior Deshawn Badger finished it.
Badger scored 16 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. Hodo hit Badger with a quick pass in transition for a lay-up that tied the game at 51 in the third quarter. He got one of his three steals and made an easy lay-up to keep it close at 61-60 in the fourth quarter.
Then Badger, who moved this summer to Stockbridge from George Washington High School in Charleston, W.V., made a three-point play with 3:27 left in the game to give Stockbridge its first lead at 65-63, one it wouldn't relinquish.
"We were down nine at halftime and I knew I had to step it up," Badger said. "I'm new here, but everything revolves around Dante (Campbell) and me, and so I knew I had to step up and be big for my team. That's what we did, and we came out with a win."
Dante Campbell added 14 points, six rebounds and three assists for Stockbridge, and Emmanuel McKissic scored 11 points.
Larrentis Thomas led Henry County (7-2, 4-1) with 17 points and eight rebounds, Dontavious Bega scored 14 points and Rosser and Dray Shoulder each added 10 points.
Stockbridge girls 51, Henry County 45
First-year Lady Tigers coach Tyecia Powell knew her team would have one bad quarter Tuesday night. They always do.
"For the most part once they learn to settle down, they get it together," Powell said.
Lady Tigers guard Amari Moreland settled her team down, hitting big shots in the second half to finish with a game-high 19 points.
Miracle Johnson added 14 points, six rebounds and three steals for Stockbridge (3-4, 3-1 Region 4-AAA), and Deborah Hoe scored 10 points.
Tiana Taylor led Henry County (2-4, 1-3) with 10 points. Danielle Hickman added eight points and 12 rebounds.