Ola coach Curt Miller praised his team for playing hard in its loss at Drew on Friday in a Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A contest. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
RIVERDALE — Drew coach Jarrod Davis had a feeling that Ola wasn’t going away quietly after his team jumped to a big first quarter lead.
He was right.
After the Titans built a big lead to start the game, they had to survive a late rally from visiting Ola in a Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A contest. Drew forward Maleek Taylor came up big in the final three minutes of the game to propel the Titans to a 74-53 win on Friday.
Taylor finished with a game-high 18 points while teammate James Ruiz had 17 points as the Titans improved to 9-5 overall and 3-0 in the subregion.
“Ola is a pretty good team,” Davis said. “I didn’t think they would play the way they did in the first quarter the entire game. They play hard all the time. They stopped us from doing a couple things that we normally do. Their press gave us some problems.”
After going scoreless in the first half, Taylor put together a solid game in the score half. It was the second straight game that he has had a big second half. In a win over Union Grove on Wednesday, Taylor had a 19-point second half.
Against Ola, he scored eight points in the last two minutes and came up with a big steal to help the Titans finish on a 12-3 run.
“I just had to step up for our team,” Taylor said. “They expect me to be a leader.”
Drew jumped to a 22-8 first quarter lead, and looked as if it would make an easy night of it.
But the Mustangs pulled to within seven points with five minutes remaining.
“These kids play so hard,” Ola coach Curt Miller said. “We had our chance, and the boys played really well. We did a lot of smart things. We shot the ball pretty good, and this team has to shoot well. This score really didn’t represent the way our guys played.”
Ola, which dropped to 0-3 in the subregion, was led by Clayton Seabolt, who had 14 points. Teammate and brother, Coleman, finished with 10 points.
“Drew has a good team,” Miller said. “They are quick and athletic.”