McIntosh claims first region title with 98-79 victory

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The McIntosh boys basketball team celebrates beating Drew High School 98-79 on Saturday night for the first region championship in program history. (Photo by Michael Clifton / www.kombatkamera.com)

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Phillip Venson sparked the Chiefs with five points in the first quarter. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)

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Jordan Lyons fires off one his six three-pointers in the third quarter. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)

They say big time players step up in big moments. The McIntosh Chiefs did just that in a win that marked a lot of bests for the team, claiming a region championship 98-79 over the Drew Titans.
The Chiefs rose to the occasion in every sense of the word. They had to battle an excellent squad and exorcise the demons from last year’s painful loss in the region title game. The Titans pushed them to the limit, keeping within one point at halftime. Then, as they’ve done all season, McIntosh kicked it into a new gear in the second half with 63 points to run Drew out of their own gym.
“I thought, based on our experience last year, we were going to get back to the (title) game. I felt that we had really learned from last year and were gonna take that experience and build on it,” said coach Jason Eisele. “I thought we were gonna do it. That’s why we made ‘make history’ the motto for the year because that is going to be our first banner in the gym for basketball. It’s real important to the guys.”
The region championship is the first for the McIntosh boys. Ninety-eight points is a new season-high, besting 96 from just two nights earlier. Individually, Jordan Lyons set a new personal best with 43 points, inclduing 22 of them fueled by six three-pointers in the third quarter.
“I think the rim looked like a hula hoop for him. I’ve never seen a shooting performance like that,” said Eisele.
Will Washington dished out a personal high 17 assists, while also scoring 23 points. Dishon Lowery (seven points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Chase Walter (six points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks) were beasts on the defensive end. Braxton Shaw again provided a spark off the bench with 12 points, most on his trademark treys.
“I’m glad they’re all on my team,” said Eisele.
The game started well with the help of one of the under-the-radar Chiefs. Phillip Venson notched five of the team’s first eight points, two on a baseline layup and three on a silky three. He just gives the team one more weapon.
“If we can get him seeing the rim well, because he’s a really great shooter, it’s going to be a big plus for us,” said Eisele.
Lyons hit for seven in the first quarter and Shaw sank a trey as they held a narrow 15-14 advantage after one.
Drew pulled ahead early in the second quarter, but they would last lead at 18-16. Lyons put the Chiefs ahead for good, sinking both free throws after a flagrant foul on the Titans. Washington again showed he can get to the hoop at will, scoring their last two buckets of the half by slicing to the rim for a layup.
Drew didn’t give in, keeping within 35-34 after two quarters. From there, it was a whole different ballgame.
“It was nip and tuck in the first half. In the locker room at halftime, I could just see it in their eyes that they weren’t going to be denied,” said Eisele. “Jordan (Lyons) kind of put us on his back in the third quarter. That was big time. That gave us the cushion, and from there we just rolled.”
That third quarter was all McIntosh. Lyons put on a shooting clinic with six threes and 22 points. Washington did what he does best, driving and dishing or finishing his own shot, keying the team to 33 in the frame. He finished it off emphatically with a dunk for a 68-56 and just one quarter left to play.
The fourth was more of the same, Shaw and Lyons hitting threes early to pad the gap. Washington fed Walter for two thunder dunks that brought the crowd to their feet and nearly brought the rim down. Washington’s steal and layup put the game thoroughly out of reach at 92-72. Shaw added more cushion with a three and Terrance Gaines struck the final blow with two free throws in the 98-79 win.
The Chiefs got to the title game with a 76-66 win over the Mundy’s Mill Tigers on Friday.
Mundy’s Mill locked down on the Lyons-Washington combo in the first half, limiting them to just five points. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that opened up the court for the rest of the lineup. Dishon Lowery stepped up with 11 first half points, and Chase Walter added six. Braxton Shaw was big off the bench with nine first half points and a number of key rebounds.
McIntosh took a 31-26 lead into the second half. As they’ve done all season, the Chiefs came out of the locker rooms with style. Jordan Lyons was unstoppable in the frame, draining four three-pointers as part of his 19-point quarter.
The team held a 58-45 advantage heading into the fourth. Washington took over at that point, either driving and kicking to Walter or getting his own shot, converting two three point plays. His eight points in the fourth set the table, and free throws from Shaw and Brendon Rowan were the final blows in the 76-66 win.

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Christopher Dunn has been the sports editor for Fayette Newspapers since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Game Day magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.


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