Curtis Baptist looked like a team on a mission Thursday night in the first round of the GISA Class AA state tournament.
The Crusaders (29-1) stormed to a 74-42 victory over Oak Mountain (20-10), thanks to a stingy defense and 20 points by point guard Jeremy Gritton.
Augusta Prep (14-12) was not quite as fortunate, falling to undefeated Flint River 64-49.
Leading 17-14 early in the second quarter, Curtis Baptist went on a 31-4 run that lasted until midway through the third quarter to take a 48-18 lead.
Gritton, who scored 13 points during the decisive run, nailed four three-pointers in the game, and converted a pass from Noel Tanner into a one-handed slam dunk to cap the run. Guard Donald Coleman, who finished with 11 points, hit three three-pointers in the second quarter, including one at the buzzer to end the first half.
"Coleman's three pointers in the second quarter gave us the momentum we needed going into the second half," Curtis Baptist coach Larry Gritton said. Our defense made the difference in the game. (Forward) J.R. Owens flat-out controlled the paint, and all the kids contributed on both ends of the court."
On Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Curtis Baptist will face Savannah's Memorial Day at South Georgia College in Douglas. Memorial, the defending GISA Class AA state champions, defeated Fullington 100-85 Thursday to advance to the second round.
Augusta Prep's season came to an end earlier in the night, as they lost to Flint River in a game which saw 16 three-pointers converted. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, it was Flint Hill which capitalized off the shootout. Twin brothers Jeff and Joe Bridges were unstoppable from the perimeter all night for Flint Hill, combining to score 28 points, including 6 three-pointers in the first half.
Guard Zach Bromer keyed a 21-9 run by Augusta Prep midway through the second half to cut the Flint Hill lead to 50-43, but Flint Hill recovered to advance to the second round.