Photo by Jerry Jackson
Mount Zion guard Trentavies Molden tries to set up the Bulldogs’ offense as he is guard by Maleek Taylor of Drew during a game on Tuesday.
RIVERDALE — On a night when the Drew basketball team displayed banners with the names of the seniors basketball players in its gym, Mount Zion relied on its own senior captain.
Sparked by J.R. Holder’s 24 points, Mount Zion used two runs; one to close out the second quarter and the other to start the third, to seize control of the game and beat Drew 67-58 in a Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A contest on Tuesday.
The win gives the Bulldogs (18-5, 13-2) the No. 1 seed from the subregion heading into next week’s region tournament at Ola High in McDonough.
“The boys worked hard,” Mount Zion coach Maurice Triche said. “We look back at last year when we were last place in the region to where we are today, where we are the first team. It comes from perserverance, dedication, and hard work.”
Drew (14-9, 12-3) erased a 17-13 first quarter deficit as Jesse Ellis connected on a 3-pointer to put the Titans up 23-20 with less than five minutes to play in the second quarter. That would be the extent of any Drew lead for the night. Minutes later, Holder was driving for a layup to put Mount Zion up 29-24 and scoring off a loose ball to make the score 32-24 as the Bulldogs closed the half on a 12-3 run.
“Just playing hard, staying focus, and playing excellent defense,” said Triche of his team’s run.
Not to be outdone, Mount Zion started the second half on a 7-2 run. Holder and Radarius Abercrombie both had buckets in the first 30 seconds of the third quarter, before Holder hit a 3-pointer to make the score 39-28.
While Mount Zion played an impressive game, Drew did make some correctable errors including missing 17 free throws, 11 coming in the first half. The Titans’ consolation prize is the second seed in the region and a bye as well, but coach Jarrod Davis is not fond of his team’s future if the mistakes are not corrected.
“Our road [in the tourney] is going to be home if we don’t do a better job of taking care of the things we suppose to take care of,” Davis said. “If we don’t block out and make good decisions, we’re going to be back at home. We control that.”
Brandon Clyde led Drew with 12 points.
Cody Simmons and Trent Molden added 15 points and 11 points respectively for Mount Zion, which just needs one win in the region tournament to clinch a state playoff berth.