MCDONOUGH, GA — Fayette County beat Eagle’s Landing 68-54 in a terrific back-and-forth contest in Georgia’s Sweet 16 of the second round of the AAAAA GHSA state playoffs. The Tigers had to claw back in the second half to bring home the road win on a rainy Wednesday night in the Atlanta suburbs.
After going into halftime with a seven-point deficit, Fayette County looked to an experienced bunch when they needed a bucket in the second half. They found the bottom of the barrel through the hands of seniors Josh Dupree and Ricky Knight, Jr.
The duo combined for 21 of Fayette County’s 25 points in the third quarter. Knight hit three three-pointers and Dupree scored eight points and had four assists in the eight-minute stretch. It was exactly what Fayette County needed in the rally quarter.
The Tigers took the lead in the second half on a gorgeous Euro-step lay-up and-one play from Dupree. The rest of the night belonged to Fayette County.
Dupree was brilliant in the win, finishing with 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals in the game. His chemistry with Knight was the difference maker.
“Countless times, we’ve been in that situation countless times,” Dupree said about his drive-and-kick relationship with Knight.
“I remember in AAU, I went driving down the lane and kicking it out to Ricky for that shot. Weekend after weekend, night after night, day after day. We’ve been in that situation so many times before. We’ve been doing this since middle school. This is just every day.”
Fayette County head coach Andre Flynn looked at his group at the break and asked them to dig deeper.
“We challenged them at halftime. We asked them if this is the way they want to go out. Do you want to go out like this?” Flynn said. “They picked it up after halftime and because they are seniors, they know they had to put in their time. When Ricky gets warmed up, we’re going to find him.”
The Tigers had 21 points - 17 of them coming in the first half - from junior JaKobe Coleman. Knight finished with 19 points.
NOTES FROM THE NOTEPAD
Eagle’s Landing senior guard Christopher Hood was named Region 4-AAAAA Player of the Year and you saw why in this match-up. The 6-foot-3 guard does just about everything for the Eagles. Hood was a major reason why the home team had the first half advantage. He was all over the floor and making an impact in a variety of ways. He finished with 20 points (4-11 FG, 12-15 FT), seven rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. Hood finished his career as one of the best players to ever suit up at Eagle’s Landing.
Keith Lamar of Eagle’s Landing showed some promise. The 6-foot-5 junior scored 17 points and hit three three-pointers in the loss. His pull-up jumper from the elbow was an effective offensive weapon. There is a lot to like with him as a prospect and next year’s Eagle’s Landing offense should run through his hot shooting hand. We’ll be watching him this spring and wouldn’t be surprised to see his recruiting profile grow some legs and take off.