By Derrick Mahone
When Eagle's Landing sophomore center Desmond Ringer went down with a knee injury mere seconds into the Golden Eagles' game at seventh-ranked Henry County on Tuesday, he said the first thing he felt was anger.
"I was kind of angry," Ringer said, "because I knew my team needed me and I didn't want to let them down. I knew it was a big game."
Ringer suffered the injury when his foot got tangled with a teammate's and landed on his other foot.
"It felt like my knee shifted up inside my skin," Ringer said. "I felt a pop. I don't know what it was, but it was a pop. I couldn't run."
Ringer left the game and didn't return. Without his 6-foot-9 presence, the Golden Eagles struggled mightily in their 84-68 loss, and they'll lose Ringer for 2-3 weeks.
An MRI revealed no broken bones in Ringer's knee, though he said the extent of any ligament damage was unknown. Doctors advised Ringer to stay off his feet and ice the knee to help the swelling.
Ringer said he's hopeful he'll be back should Eagle's Landing qualify for the state tournament.
OFFENSIVE GROOVE: As Mundy's Mill coach Julius Omotayo headed into the locker room with his team trailing by nine points to North Clayton Tuesday night, he asked assistant coach Tyra Cummings to give her assessment of the team.
The Lady Tigers were trailing 20-11 with leading scorer Briana McQueen only contributing four points.
Cummings' advice was simple: the team just needs to settle down.
It proved to be the right advice as Mundy's Mill made a fourth-quarter comeback for a 47-43 win in a Region 4-AAAA contest.
"We were off the last 10 days so we were rushing things," Omotayo said. "My assistant said that we needed to settle down and let the offense come to us. I thought we played good defense in the first half. We started running our plays more efficiently in the second half."
TEAM PLAYER: Mundy's Mill guard Briana McQueen refused to take full credit for the team's come-from-behind win over North Clayton, although she scored 10 fourth-quarter points including four in the last 20 seconds for the win.
"It was a team effort out there," the junior said. "We played much better in the second half. We won as a team."
NORTH CLAYTON'S DEJA VU: Ten days ago in its last game, the North Clayton girls team lost in the closing seconds at Drew after blowing a big lead.
Tuesday night it was the same senario as North Clayton lost in the last seconds against Mundy's Mill. Against Drew, the Lady Eagles were up by 10 points heading into the final quarter. North Clayton had a 13-point lead against the Lady Tigers Tuesday.
"We got to finish the game," North Clayton coach Shaka Owens said. "We lost both games in the last 30 seconds."
SPARK FROM STAPLES: Thanks for a football injury, Henry County guard Phillip Staples missed the first half of the basketball season. But he made up for lost time in his return Tuesday night.
The junior made two quick lay-ups that sparked a late first-half run by the Warhawks, then hit a 3-pointer in the corner in the second half of Henry County's 84-68 victory over No. 9 Eagle's Landing in a crucial region game.
"He really came in and shot the ball well," Henry County coach Vincent Rosser said. "That's something we've been missing. He was out a great part of the season. We're glad to have him back."
Staff writer Brian Paglia contributed to this article.