NORTH AUGUSTA --- The North Augusta Yellow Jackets' state championship hopes came to an end Tuesday night when Wren's D.J. Brown hit a layup with 4.6 seconds left to give the Hurricanes a stunning 66-64 win.
The Yellow Jackets (21-5) had a rowdy home crowd and momentum heading into the final minutes, but a key turnover cost North Augusta.
"Even going into the fourth quarter of the game, I thought we had momentum, but we just didn't make good decisions and those things happen," Jackets coach Al Young said.
North Augusta was poised to set up the go-ahead score with the game tied at 64 with 1:18 to play. But after letting the clock wind down to 32 seconds, North Augusta turned the ball over on an errant pass by guard Darell Curry.
"We were just trying to hold it to take the perfect shot; hopefully the layup," Young said.
On the next possession, Brown got open on a pick and took a pass for the winning score.
"I really don't know what happened (on Wren's last play)," Young said. "I just told them we had to play good defense, and not foul and not let them get an easy basket. But somehow (Brown) made a backdoor cut on us."
Curry's 3-point attempt at the buzzer was tipped.
The Jackets appeared to take the momentum with them into the locker room at halftime. Trailing much of the first half, North Augusta went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 32.
Momentum continued to build for North Augusta in the third quarter when precise passing exposed holes in Wren's zone defense, leading repeatedly to easy layups by Quinton Harmon and Bryan Narcisse. Narcisse led all scorers with 22 points.
North Augusta went on to lead by as many as five, but the Hurricanes seemed to hit the clutch shot when they needed it all night. Late in the third, guard Adam Ridlehoover's 3-pointer tied the game at 53-53.
The lead alternated by possession the rest of the way.
Another costly mistake hurt the Jackets prior to the Curry's errant pass, when Brown was fouled by North Augusta's Ronald Sims on a 3-point attempt. Brown sank two of three free throws to tie the game at 64.
The Hurricanes of Piedmont, S.C. (18-10) will go on to play the Hillcrest-Spartanburg winner in the AAAA Upper State Championship Friday in Clemson.
Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or email@example.com.
WREN 66, NORTH AUGUSTA 64
WREN (66)--Sabastian Koch 16, Adam Riddlehoover 14, Jaqurry Bozynowski 13, Demitrius Babb 10, D.J. Brown 8, Tim Franklin 5. Totals: 23 11-15 66.
NORTH AUGUSTA (64)--Brian Narcisse 22, Bret Johnson 14, Quinton Harmon 12, Ronald Sims 10, Brandon Curry 6. Totals: 23 15-21 64.
Wren 21 11 23 11 -- 66
North Augusta 15 17 23 9 -- 64
3-point goals: Wren 9 (Riddlehoover 4, Babb 2, Koch 2, Brown), North Augusta 3 (Johnson 2, Sims).
Records: North Augusta 21-5.