That’s one championship — one more to go.
The Spartans boys basketball team won a close Region 3-AAAA title bout with Liberty County, winning 46-44 Wednesday night at Butler. Glenn Hills got 15 points from Aubrey McRae and 12 from Santo Nina to clinch the region’s No. 1 seed.
Despite going 1-for-2 on its last seven trips to the free-throw line with a chance to cushion the lead, Glenn Hills made one final stand to survive. The hold included a block close to the basket.
“That’s what we’ve been preaching all year,” Glenn Hills coach Travis McRae said about defense. “We missed some free throws down the stretch, but when we had to have a stop, we got it. That was real big.”
Even in the low-scoring game, there were times when the Spartans (23-4) got the offense going. Nina was a major part, even when he wasn’t getting points himself. While he did score all five points in the second quarter for Glenn Hills, Nina didn’t have to shoot to have an impact.
On one play far down his team’s defensive end of the floor in the third quarter, Nina quickly tipped the ball to a teammate. The Spartans speedily raced down the floor from there to get Aubrey McRae the chance for the score.
The Spartans led by as many as eight points, but the Panthers didn’t disappear. The two sides exchanged scores with scores and then stops with stops, but Glenn Hills hung on to win the title.
A season ago, the Spartans had to travel for the first round of the state playoffs. This year, they won a region title in the city.
“Every night you step on the court in Augusta, you got to battle,” Travis McRae said. “To win a region championship ... you have to play good teams.”