His team down by double digits late, Butler boys basketball coach Cervantes Boddy called a timeout.
“I told the guys, ‘It’s that time,’ ” he said.
A week after the Bulldogs let an 11-point lead leave their grasp against Laney, Butler rallied to beat Greater Atlanta Christian 66-65 on Saturday in the William Avery Invitational.
It was the 12th time the Bulldogs (12-9) had a game decided by five points or less, a sign of how tough some of their opponents have been.
Taking a cue from Burke County football coach Eric Parker, Boddy wanted a difficult schedule that would benefit his team later in the season.
The Bears played Baldwin and Class AAAAA Lowndes last season en route to a state title. Butler has played Laney three times, Rockdale County and Chamblee, of Class AAAA, and Columbia, the team Butler lost to in the Class AAA state championship a season ago.
Then there is Region 3-AAA play, which Boddy considers the toughest in the state.
Now the challenge is for Butler to win consistently. The Bulldogs have made a recent habit of alternating wins and losses.
Boddy, who describes the mentality of his team as one of “not losing,” sees overall improvement. Early in the year, the Bulldogs started slowly in games. Then, the team found itself starting the second half poorly.
The final task was to avoid the crucial turnover, missed free throw or layup in the closing minutes.
Turnovers doomed Butler against Laney, but against Greater Atlanta Christian, the defending Class AA
state champion, the Bulldogs did the job.
BUNCHED UP: All it takes is a quick look at the standings to see Region 3-AAA’s depth.
In one subregion, though Washington County is undefeated at 7-0, the next three teams all have at least three losses. Butler and Glenn Hills are tied for second with 4-3 marks and meet Friday at Butler.
In the other subregion, Thomson is in first place but is just one game in front of Westside, which is 5-2. Those two play tonight at Thomson, with the Patriots looking to avenge the 66-57 loss on Jan. 13.
After the top two, Josey and Richmond Academy are next at 4-3. The Musketeers won both meetings.