In the first half of the season, Augusta Prep let some fourth-period leads slip away. Senior point guard Ben Guthrie made sure that didn’t happen on Saturday.
It got close, though, as the Cavaliers’ 12-point lead was down to four with 3:30 left against Georgia Independent School Association defending Class AAA state champion Bethesda Academy. That’s when Guthrie took a pass from Caleb Lifsey in the lane, hit a layup while being fouled and sank the free throw, building the lead back to seven. That spurred an 11-5 closing run as the Cavaliers pulled away for the 59-49 win.
“A couple of games this year and last year we’d get up like 10-0 in the first quarter and we’d just stop and throw it away, it just doesn’t turn out well for us.” said Guthrie, who scored 13 points. “This was a big win for us.”
The win was also important as the Cavaliers (7-4) got an early jump on the Blazers (9-3) in their Region 4-AAA opener.
“It was a big day for us, I’m going to remember this day for a while,” head coach Mike Guthrie said. “This is going to make a big difference in the standings and we’ve got a tough region,” he added.
From the onset, the Cavaliers did a good job of moving the ball against the Blazers’ aggressive 2-3 defense, finding cutters for layups and putting back second-chance opportunities as they controlled the boards on both ends.
Michael Downing led the Cavaliers with 21 points while David Grayson led the Blazers with 24.