Photo by Heather Middleton
By Doug Gorman
COLUMBUS--All good things have to come to an end.
Saturday night it happened to the Drew Titans as they fell to Butler 54-47 at the Class AAA Tournament in an a Elite 8 game held at Columbus State University.
It ended a magical run for the two-year-old high school from Clayton County. The Titans don't have a senior on their roster, but played some of their best basketball late in the season, finishing second at the Region 4-AAA tournament and winning their first two games at the state tournament.
It looked for a time that the Titans had one more comeback left in them on Saturday.
After falling behind 32-17 at the break, Drew kicked up its defense, holding Butler to one field goal in the third quarter. Thanks to the play of Berry Mayes,who connected on two big baskets in the period, and some clutch free throw, the Titans chopped the lead back to single digits and only trailed 38-31 heading into the final period.
Despite the loss, Drew head coach Jarrod Davis said their are plenty of things his young team can take from this experience.
"We can't for get this feeling," he said. "If we forget this, we did a disservice to ourselves and all the work that we did."
Drew only trailed Butler 15-10 at end of the first quarter, but had trouble finding its offense in the second period and fell behind 32-17 at the break.
The Titans didn't score their first basket of the second quarter until the four-minute mark when Cory Graves connected on a long range 3-point shot.
Butler's offense also went to sleep early in the second period, but it used some quick baskets at the end of the first half to pull away from Drew and build the double-digit lead.
Jeffery Manefee's trey late in the period lifed Butler to a 27-15 lead. Drew got most of its first-half point production out of Eloka Olisa's six points.
Drew took advantage of some poor shot selection and sloppy play from Butler to make things interesting in the final period.
Mayes long range 3-pointer cut the Butler lead to 40-34, and Tray Stallworth's field goal and free throw late in the period made it 47-43.
The four-point difference was as close as it got.
Butler closed out the game on a 7-4 run to end the Titans' season.
Mayes scored all 11 points in the second quarter to lead Drew.
Olisa finished with 10 points for Drew.
Dan Lambert led Butler with 11.Ronald Jones added 10.