Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman said he couldn't have been more proud of his team to win in a hostile environment at Brunswick on Wednesday.
Brunswick — The round of 16 in the state tournament was sweet for Jonesboro on Wednesday, but not so much for the Brunswick Pirates.
At the Brunswick High gym, sweet-shooting Cameron Sutton pumped in 25 points, teammate Patrick Petty scored 13 and Jonesboro defeated Brunswick 55-51 in the second round of the Class AAAA tournament.
With the win, the Cardinals (25-4), the Region 4-AAAA runners-up, advance to the state quarterfinals on Friday in Fort Valley to face region rival Lovejoy (24-5), which as a third seed routed visiting Liberty County on Wednesday.
The Pirates, the Region 2-AAAA champions, finish their season 23-7.
“We knew they were quick, knew they were athletic,” Jonesboro coach Daniel Maehlman said. “Our main goal was to keep them in front of us and to block out. I don’t think we did a real good job of that, though.”
The Cardinals did enough.
Buoyed by Sutton’s two 3-pointers and a made free throw, Jonesboro eased out to a 15-12 lead after the first eight minutes.
Brunswick kept its composure and sent the game to halftime 31-30 in the Pirates' favor, courtesy of a 10-4 run to close the second quarter.
“I thought we had a good plan, I really did,” Brunswick coach Chris Turner said. “I’m real proud of our kids. They played hard.”
Sutton led everyone with 16 at the break — including five 3-pointers — and Pirate senior guard Tobiasz Hose led his team with eight.
The Pirates made just three baskets in the third quarter — a three by senior Soloman Jones and two-point buckets each by junior guards Ty Jackson and Marquice Jones — allowing the Cardinals to inch ahead at 40-38 entering the final frame.
In the fourth, Jonesboro stretched its lead to seven right away (45-38) in the first 3 minutes, 17 seconds, then held the Pirates at bay for much of the next 3 minutes.
Brunswick closed the gap to three points, at 50-47, after a steal and a single free throw by junior Tracy Walker with 1:23 left.
But four free throws by Sutton and one by Petty over the next 1:02 put the game away for the Cardinals.
Jones led Brunswick with 12 points, Jackson finished with 11, and Hose scored 10.
Junior Khalil Norman’s seven rebounds and four blocks led the Pirates, as did Jackson’s four assists.
Junior Brandon Black finished with nine points for the Cardinals.
“They were what we thought,” Turner said. “They hit some big shots, and we let a few get away from us.
“Overall, I thought we did a good job. We just had a few things not go our way. I’m still proud of our kids.”
Maehlman said Sutton’s performance was indicative of how his team has been playing.
“All season long, everybody has stepped up in different games. They just continue to fight,” Maehlman said. “To come in here and play a very good basketball team, I couldn’t be more proud of my kids.”
He said he thought his Cardinals — who advanced to the state semifinals a season ago before falling to eventual state champion Miller Grove — truly rose to the occasion.
“From time to time, we relax during games and you can’t do that, especially in a hostile environment like this one,” Maehlman said. “This was a heckuva a game in a heckuva loud place. To come in here and come out with a win was something. This place was loud as heck.”