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Toombs To Play For Title

Toombs To Play For Title
Juju Cutler drives in for a basket during the Toombs County Final 4 game against Butler.Photo by Mike Branch
Toombs To Play For Title
Juju Cutler drives in for a basket during the Toombs County Final 4 game against Butler.Photo by Mike Branch

It was a historic week for the Bulldogs of Toombs County High School as their boys’ basketball team won both their Elite 8 and Final 4 games. It was the first time in school history that the basketball team had made it to the Final 4, and with the win they will now play for the State AA Championship this week.

Toombs faced off with Athens Academy, the #10 ranked team in the state, in the Elite 8 last Wednesday. After winning that game in commanding fashion, that set Toombs up to play Butler out of Augusta at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville on Saturday. Toombs was up to the task against the #2 ranked team in the State as they battled their way to a win down the stretch.

In this playoff run, the #4 ranked Bulldogs have now beat the #2 and #3 ranked teams in the State, and will face off with the #1 ranked team, Westside of Augusta, in the Championship this Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in the Macon Centreplex. vs. Athens Academy Elite 8 The Toombs County Bulldogs boys’ basketball team continued from page

continued their incredible run through the state tournament, securing a decisive 67-41 victory over Athens Academy in the Elite 8 round held in Athens, GA. Once again, their strong defense proved to be the key, holding their opponents to a mere 41 points for the entire game.

Jesus Quintero set the tone early, draining five three-pointers in the first half alone and leading the Bulldogs to a commanding 36-18 lead at the break. His offensive performance was nothing short of electrifying, igniting the team and the crowd.

TCHS jumped out to a 23-14 lead in the first quarter of the game. The defense took over in the second quarter as they held Athens to just four points. Toombs held a 36-18 lead at halftime.

In the third, Toombs extended their lead to 5227, and they went on to win the game 67-41.

Dominic Eason added his usual spark with 19 points, including at least three crowd-pleasing dunks that sent the Toombs faithful into a frenzy. Juju Cutler contributed a valuable double- double, totaling 10 points and 17 rebounds, showcasing his hustle and versatility on the court.

Mike Polke also chipped in offensively with 9 points, while contributing all-around with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. This was truly a team effort, with everyone playing their part and contributing to the victory. vs. Butler Final 4 It was a battle in the second half for the Bulldogs, but they did just enough to knock off the #2 ranked Butler Bulldogs and punch their ticket to Macon and the State Championship.

Both teams got off to a slow start. Toombs got on the board first with 6:40 left in the first, but Butler answered with a threepointer to take a 3-2 lead with 5:40 on the clock. Eason made a nice move in the lane and then Polke hit a shot to make it a 6-3 lead for Toombs.

With 2:10 left in the first Butler took the lead, 7-6 after a steal, but Toombs was up 8-7 after a pull up jumper in the lane by JuJu Cutler with 1:28 left in the first. Toombs fought their way to a 10-9 lead at the end of the first with Eason making another basket with less than a minute to play.

In the second, Butler took the lead again, but Eason hit a three-pointer. Quintero added a three, and then Eason hit another from behind the arc to put the Bulldogs on top 19-13 with 6:05 left in the half. It was a 24-16 lead for Toombs with 4:34 left in the first half.

Quintero then was taking the ball out from under the TCHS basket and found Eason on an alleyoop dunk that gave Toombs a 26-16 lead with 3:42 left in the half. Then a steal by Quintero ahead to Eason put Toombs up 28-16 lead. Polke pushed the lead to 30-18 with 30 seconds to play. Butler made a pair of free throws down the stretch to make the score at halftime 30-20 with Toombs out in front.

At the start of the third quarter, Butler quickly closed the lead to 30-25. Parker Stanley hit Eason with a nice path underneath for a 32-25 lead with 6:10 left in the third. Cutler then hit a three to push the lead back out to 35-25.

With 3:35 left in the in the third, the score was 3530. Butler closed the lead to 35-32 with just over a minute remaining in the third as the Bulldogs went completely cold. TCHS scored just five points in the third quarter. The score at the end of the third was 35-32 with Toombs clinging to a lead.

Butler came back and took the lead 36-35 with 5:45 left in the game. Cutler put Toombs back on top with 4:47 to play. They were up 39-37 after a threepointer. Polke tied the game with a good move in the lane, and then Stanley put TCHS up 41-39 with 2:38 left to go. Quintero made it 43-39.

With just 35 seconds to go, Polke extended the lead to 44-39, and then a pair of free throws by Eason put Toombs up 46-39 with 13.9 seconds on the clock. Butler hit a wild threepointer to close the lead to 46-42 with 4.7 seconds to play. Polke got another free throw to fall with just 3 seconds to play as Toombs held off Butler to win the game 47-42.

Butler did a good job on the defensive side of the ball as they held Toombs well below their average on the night. Eason led the way with 21 points, 15 of those in the first half. Polke scored 8 for Toombs with Quintero held to just 7 on the night, Cutler also added 7 for TCHS in the win.

Toombs is now 29-2 on the year as they head into the State Championship Game. They will take on Westside of Augusta this Thursday at 3:00 p.m. at the Macon Centreplex.

Marion Oglesby goes up over two Butler defenders during the first half of action in the Final 4.Photo by Mike Branch

Dominic Eason slices through two defenders for a basket during the Final 4 against Butler.Photo by Mike Branch

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