Clayton State coach Paul Harrison is hoping Saturday’s last-second win over Lander will give his team some momentum heading in the final part of the schedule. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
MORROW — When Charles Shederick’s 3-pointer from the left baseline went through the net on Saturday, it served as a reminder that Clayton State could play with the best teams in the Peach Belt Conference.
The shot, with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation, lifted Clayton State to a 55-52 win over Lander, the hottest team in the conference.
“We have been in every single game that we have played,” Clayton State coach Paul Harrison said.
The win improves Clayton State to 7-11 overall and 3-8 in the league entering today’s home game against Georgia Regents University. The Lakers are fighting for one of the top four spots in the West division of the conference to make the tournament.
“This game will help a lot in getting us started,” Clayton State point guard Sirdarius Henry said. “We got eight more games left in the regular season, and we are trying to win all of them. We are trying to make that push to get into the conference tournament. We got to play hard and smarter, and become a lot tougher.”
Shedrick’s shot was set-up on a driving play by guard Sirdarius Henry who then slid a pass along the baseline for the game-winning jumper at the Athletics Center. The play came after Bearcat guard Michael Panaggio drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 34 seconds remaining to knot the game at 52 apiece.
“We guarded Lander well tonight, and we had too because they came in as the hottest team in the Peach Belt,” said head coach Paul Harrison. “If we continue to guard, we will have the opportunity to be in every game. That’s the key. It was a great team win against a good team.”
The Bearcats entered the game on a six-game winning streak and had won nine of their last 10 games.
Now, the Lakers face another challenge in Georgia Regents, which is 17-3 overall and 10-1 in the East Division of the Peach Belt Conference. The Jaguars are on a three-game winning streak entering tonight’s 7:30 p.m. contest.
Georgia Regents should give the Lakers a good test in gauging their progress this season. The Jaguars average a conference-best 10.3 turnovers a game and shooting by 22 free throws a game, another league-best.
Guard Ryan Weems leads the Jaguars with a 15.3 scoring average and is followed by center K.J. Sherrill (13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds). Forward Harold Doby, who is still recovering from foot surgery two months ago, averages 10.3 points and 6.7 boards a game.
“We have to make plays,” Harrison said.