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Prep basketball: Falcons rise above Southside

POSTED: March 5, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Tom Reed | The Times/

Flowery Branch's Chris Lipscomb works his way around Southside's Antwan Powell in Friday's first-round Class AAA state playoff game at Flowery Branch.

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FLOWERY BRANCH — Connor Shaw couldn’t hold his emotions back any longer.

The normally composed Falcons guard couldn’t stop smiling after Flowery Branch (25-3) won its first playoff game in school history, 68-59, over Southside on Friday night in Flowery Branch.

With only 1:13 remaining in the game, Shaw hit a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to subdue Southside’s late rally. It gave the Falcons a 62-57 lead, making a Lasers rally less likely.

It’s not the first time he’s stepped up big. Last Saturday, in the Region 7-AAA championship game, he played a major role in the Falcons’ fourth-quarter rally to capture its first region title.

"Wow," Shaw said fresh off Friday’s win. "We all knew we were going to have to step up tonight. I wanted to do my part and it just feels unbelievable. Another win, another game."

Shaw and Ishmael Hollis each scored 10 to led Flowery Branch. A.C. Bailey had nine points and seven rebounds and Izaan Cross scored nine with 10 rebounds for the Falcons.

With the win, the Falcons advance to the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs and will play host to the winner of Saturday’s Sandy Creek-Oconee County game on Tuesday.

"This win is great for our kids," Flowery Branch coach Todd Cottrell said. "They have reached another one of their goals and I am just real proud of them. They kept their poise and made big plays when they had to tonight.

"It’s just a great win."

Flowery Branch opened up an early 15-8 lead paced by Shaw’s outside shooting and the Falcons’ scrappy defense.

When Shaw entered the game in the first quarter he scored seven quick points with two free throws, a 3-pointer off his own steal and a layup.

Southside answered in the second quarter with an 11-3 run, but the Falcons defense forced four consecutive turnovers on four straight possessions, ending the Lasers’ early push.

"I was real pleased with (Shaw’s) performance tonight," Cottrell said. "When it’s his time to make plays, he does and that’s been the story of our season. It seems to be a different guy every night."

Following a close third quarter, Southside cut Flowery Branch’s lead to just three points, but an 8-0 Falcon run with three minutes remaining extended Flowery Branch’s lead to as many as five.

"It’s the state tournament and everybody is good and nobody is going to go away," Cottrell said. "It’s a high school basketball game and you can’t make it bigger than it is, but it’s obvious that these guys wanted a win tonight.

"These guys have came a long away and I’m just so proud of them."

"We’ll do anything in our possible way to get to the next round," Shaw said, "and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing and that’s what we are going to do."



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